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WESA Voter Guide

Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District: A guide to the 2022 primary and candidates

12th Congressional District WESA Voter Guide Election.png
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What's at stake:
For the first time in 25 years, Pittsburgh will have a new representative in Congress. Longtime U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, a Democrat, announced his retirement last fall. Some candidates running this spring say Doyle’s departure gives voters the opportunity to have a more outspoken, progressive voice in Washington, DC. But this election will still have a “Mike Doyle” on the ballot: A Republican by the same name is running.

Further reading: "Few policy differences in 12th Congressional District debate, but contrasts in style, philosophy" (Chris Potter, WESA)
"Pro-Israel group attacks Lee as bad Democrat without mentioning Israel, or its own support for GOP" (Chris Potter, WESA)
"As Sanders visits, progressives and political establishment clash in 12th Congressional District" (Chris Potter, WESA)

Note: Campaign finance data updated 5/12/22.


Democrats

Jerry Dickinson

Jerry Dickinson
Courtesy the Dickinson campaign
Jerry Dickinson

Dickinson is a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who lives in Swissvale. He first sought election to Congress in 2020 as a progressive challenging the incumbent Doyle, and he ran on expanding access to health care, climate justice, and making Pittsburgh a livable place for Black residents. Dickinson grew up in the foster care system with 10 brothers and sisters in Shaler Township.

Party: Democrat  
Experience: Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Law (2020 – present)
Education: College of the Holy Cross (B.A.); Fordham University (J.D.)
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | TikTok
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Teamsters Joint Council No. 40; former Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chair Jim Burn; multiple current and former local elected officials and community leaders; more here.
Fundraising Total: $685,185
Cash on hand: $107,314
More on campaign finance: Federal Election Commission
Worth reading: "Pitt professor releasing video to bolster run for Congress" (Julian Routh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


Steve Irwin 

Steve Irwin.jpg
Luigi Ciuffetelli
/
Courtesy the Irwin campaign
Steve Irwin

Irwin is an attorney who specializes in business and employment law. He lives in Squirrel Hill. Earlier in his career, he worked as an aide to former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter and has organized and raised funds for local Democratic efforts. He is a cantor at the Tree of Life Synagogue, although he wasn’t there during the 2018 mass shooting. He’s held leadership positions in groups such as Sustainable Pittsburgh, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, and a regional chapter of the Anti-Defamation League; he's also the current chair of the Pennsylvania Advisory Committee for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

Party: Democrat  
Experience: Host, Political Jungle, Pittsburgh Community Television (2015 – present); service on boards of infrastructure and securities commissions including Pittsburgh Parking Authority and Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission
Education:
Harvard University (A.B.); Georgetown University (J.D.)
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Allegheny County Democratic Committee; retiring U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.-18), Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; former Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto; more here.
Fundraising Total: $1,227,674
Cash on hand: $217,718
More on campaign finance: Federal Election Commission
Worth reading: "Pittsburgh attorney Steve Irwin joins race to replace Doyle" (Chris Potter, WESA)


Summer Lee

Summer Lee 2022_4577_3936x2624_Clip.jpg
Summer Lee campaign
Summer Lee

Lee represents Pittsburgh communities such as Regent Square, Braddock and Rankin in the state House. She was first elected in 2018 after beating out longtime Democrat Paul Costa by running on a platform centered on environmental and social justice issues. In Harrisburg, she has been a strong voice on issues such as police accountability. Earlier this year, she was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Party: Democrat  
Experience: Pennsylvania House of Representatives – 34th District (2019 – present)
Education: Penn State University (BA); Howard University (J.D.)
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders; U.S. Rep. Ayanna Presley (Md.-7); Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey; state Sen. Nik Saval (Philadelphia); 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club; NARAL Pro-Choice America. More here.
Fundraising Total: $707,344
Cash on hand: $333,743
More on campaign finance: Federal Election Commission
Worth reading: "'We don’t have time anymore to wait': Summer Lee announces Congressional bid" (Chris Potter, WESA)


Will Parker

Parker lives in Garfield and is a Pittsburgh native who previously ran an abortive campaign for mayor last year. He did not respond to interview requests about his campaign.

Party: Democrat  
Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: None currently available
Fundraising Total: $0
Cash on hand: $0
More on campaign finance: Has not filed with the FEC


Jeff Woodard 

Jeff Woodward
Courtesy the Woodward campaign
Jeff Woodward

Woodard is executive director of the Pennsylvania College Access program, an organization that helps low-income high school students enroll in higher education. He’s been active in local politics and is from Erie. Woodard also taught as an adjunct professor at Robert Morris University and the Community College of Allegheny County. He lives in Oakland.

Party: Democrat  
Experience: 
College Access Program Administrator, Office of the PA Lieutenant Governor (2000 -- present)
Education:
Carlow University (B.A.); Point Park University (M.S., M.B.A.)
Links: Website | YouTube
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: None currently available
Fundraising Total: $1,010
Cash on hand: $160
More on campaign finance: Federal Election Commission


Republicans

Mike Doyle

Mike Doyle GOP Head Shot.jpg
Courtesy the Doyle campaign
Mike Doyle

Doyle lives in Plum and is a vice president of an insurance company. He has also served as a member of the Plum Borough Council since 2005. Though he shares the same name as the Mike Doyle who has represented the Pittsburgh region in Congress for the past 25 years, they are different people.

Party: Republican
Experience: Plum Borough Council (2006 – present)
Education: King’s College (B.S.)
Links: Not yet announced
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: None currently available
Fundraising Total: $14,200
Cash on hand: $14,200
More on campaign finance: Federal Election Commission

What's at stake and candidate profiles for statewide races and competitive primaries in Allegheny County.