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Democrat Arvind Venkat claims victory in state House District 30

Democrat Arvind Venkat has claimed victory in the race for state House 30th District.
Sarah Boden
90.5 WESA
Democrat Arvind Venkat has claimed victory in the race for state House 30th District.

An emergency medicine doctor will be a new voice in Harrisburg. Democrat Arvind Venkat appears to have won the race for state house district 30.

"I got into this race because I saw over the last few years how we needed new leadership who was going to bring to our community an emphasis on lifting up the least among us," said Venkat. "When we do that, we do the best for all of us."

A call to Republican candidate Cindy Kirk went unanswered. Kirk had not conceded as of 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Voters were faced with choosing between Democrat Arvind Venkat, a McCandless physician and Republican Cindy Kirk, a nurse administrator and former County Council member.

One of the most closely watched state House matchups is in House District 30, covering the North Hills suburbs of McCandless and Franklin Park, as well as Kilbuck, Emsworth, Ben Avon, and parts of Hampton Township.

There was no incumbent because HD 30 changed so much in the most recent redistricting. It's now almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans and is considered a swing seat.

Venkat ran on familiar Democratic themes of protecting access to abortion in Pennsylvania — an issue many Democrats hope will propel them to victory — as well as adequately funding public services, making health care more affordable and accessible, voting rights and addressing gun violence.

Kirk did not respond to WESA’s candidate survey or to a requests for an interview, but her campaign web site lists enacting a voter ID law, defending gun rights, and keeping taxes low as priorities. It also describes her as pro-life with some exceptions.

Republicans hold a wide majority in the state House, with 113 members, compared to only 90 Democrats. Democrats are hoping to pick up seats Tuesday.

Kate Giammarise focuses her reporting on poverty, social services and affordable housing. Before joining WESA, she covered those topics for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for nearly five years; prior to that, she spent several years in the paper’s Harrisburg bureau covering the legislature, governor and state government. She can be reached at or 412-697-2953.
Sarah Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio. As a contributor to the NPR-Kaiser Health News Member Station Reporting Project on Health Care in the States, Sarah's print and audio reporting frequently appears on NPR and KFF Health News.