The number of women in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Allegheny County will likely triple after November’s general election—from one to three. That’s because Sara Innamorato and Summer Lee upset longtime Democrat incumbents Dom Costa and his cousin Paul Costa in the May 15 primary election.
There were no Republicans on the primary ballot so Innamorato and Lee will likely go unchallenged in November.
“Sarah and Summer are to be congratulated for working hard, being enthusiastic and energizing an electorate to excite them to come out and vote,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
The only current female member of the county House delegation is first-term Democrat Representative Anita Kulik.
Fitzgerald said he was surprised by the margin of victories: 28 percentage point advantage for Innamorato and 35 percentage point edge for Lee.
“What you do see is a lot of energy. You see a lot of people that haven't been involved in the process before," Fitzgerald said. "Summer Lee and Sarah Innamorato are new candidates that probably two years ago weren't that active in the political process. New candidates emerging with a lot of energy, a lot of ideas, a lot of new ways of doing things, and I think a lot of that came out of the 2016 November election.”
Fitzgerald said he believes that the Costas were originally elected on issues that were a “little more moderate to conservative.”
“I think the western Pennsylvania Democrat right now is different than they were just a few years ago," Fitzgerald said. "We know in Pittsburgh there's a lot of young people moving in a lot of progressive tech-oriented, science-oriented folks."
He added that he believes these younger residents are “voting in a much different way,” and their activism will lead to support for more women and minority candidates.