Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
An initiative to provide nonpartisan, independent elections journalism for southwestern Pennsylvania.

Lindsey Williams holds onto state Senate 38th District

Democrat Pennsylvania state senator Lindsey Williams stands near the flag at the Shaler Municipal buiding where her office is on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in Glenshaw, Pa.
Keith Srakocic
Democrat Pennsylvania state senator Lindsey Williams stands near the flag at the Shaler Municipal buiding where her office is on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in Glenshaw, Pa.

Democrat Lindsey Williams won Pennsylvania’s 38th Senate District over Republican Lori Mizgorski. This will be Williams’ second term in the seat.

In her victory speech, Williams attributed her early win to high voter turnout and in-person outreach.

“If you know me, you know field [work] is so important to me and that’s why we’re here this early ... the amount of conversations and the volunteer phone calls and text messages and door knocks that happened from every single one of the volunteers,” Williams said.

She estimated representatives for her campaign knocked on 58,000 doors.

The AP called the race in Williams’ favor before 9:30 p.m.

The 38th District covers the North Hills suburbs, Allegheny River towns and some East End neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. And the race to represent it has been one of the most closely watched legislative contests in western Pennsylvania, since the 38th is among the few contested Senate races in the region. Williams sought to hold the seat for a second term while Mizgorski, who was drawn out of her House district in redistricting earlier this year, wanted to make the jump to the upper chamber.

As has been the case with many down-ballot races this fall, the candidates never met for a debate, and the contest has drawn much less attention than Williams’ prior run for the seat. They have strong partisan differences, although each has at times broken with her own party.

Williamsnarrowly won her seat in 2018, but after this year’s redistricting, her district leans slightly more Democratic this time around. The West View resident serves on the state Senate Education Committee where she has supported increased funding for public education and has opposed giving more money to parents with kids in charter and private schools. She broke with her party earlier this year when she backed an unsuccessful attempt to keep Pennsylvania out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

During her time in the state House, Mizgorski has taken a more moderate approach than many of her colleagues in the GOP. She supported increased access to renewable solar energy and a bipartisan effort to improve conditions for female inmates in state prisons. She was also the lone county Republican to oppose an effort to threaten state funding of the University of Pittsburgh unless it gave up fetal tissue research. She did, however, support a GOP-backed investigation into the state’s 2020 election results despite a lack of evidence of any widespread issues or fraud.

A key piece of legislation dividing the twocould shift the balance of power in Harrisburg in a future election. A batch of constitutional amendments, if approved by voters, would fundamentally redefine abortion rights, election oversight and the power of the executive branch in Pennsylvania. Mizgorski voted in favor of the amendments in the state House; Williams voted against them.

The measure would have to clear both chambers again before voters would get the final call sometime next year.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at