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WESA Voter Guide

Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District: A guide to the 2022 primary election and candidates

17th Congressional District WESA Voter Guide Election.png
90.5 WESA

What's at stake: In a tough election year for Democrats, the party wants to hold onto this swing district, and Republicans hope to flip voters in the Allegheny County suburbs and Beaver County in their favor. The seat is currently held by moderate Democrat Conor Lamb, who is running for U.S. Senate and not seeking re-election to the House.

Further reading: "Abortion debate animates race between GOP candidates in 17th Congressional District" (Chris Potter, WESA)
"Democrats compete in overlooked — but potentially crucial — 17th Congressional District" (Chris Potter, WESA)

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


Democrats

Chris Deluzio

Chris Deluzio.jpeg
Couresty the Deluzio campaign
Chris Deluzio

Deluzio works on voting rights and election law as policy director of the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security, and lives in Shadyside. He previously worked at the Brennan Center for Justice. He’s a Pittsburgh native and a U.S. Navy veteran who completed three deployments, including a tour in Iraq.

Party: Democrat  
Experience: 
Policy Director, University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security (Pitt Cyber) (2019 – present)
Education: U.S. Naval Academy (B.A.); Georgetown University (J.D.)
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Allegheny County Democratic Committee, Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council, and Beaver County Democratic Committee; more here.
Fundraising Total: $501,839
Cash on hand: $58,411
More on campaign finance: Federal Election Commission
Worth reading: "Deluzio announces bid for western Pa. congressional seat" (Lucy Perkins, WESA)


Sean Meloy:

sean meloy.jpg
Courtesy the Meloy campaign
Sean Meloy

Meloy is a political organizer and LGBTQ-rights activist who lives in Morningside. He’s worked for retiring U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle and was appointed by Gov. Tom Wolf to the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, as well as other political organizations that work to get LGBTQ people elected.

Party: Democrat
Experience: Vice President, LGBTQ Victory Fund (2017 – 2021)
Education: Penn State University (B.A., B.S)
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: LGBTQ Victory Fund; retiring U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle; Young Democrats of Allegheny County; state Sen. Lindsey Williams; state Rep. Scott Conklin; NARAL Pro-Choice America. More here.
Fundraising Total: $251,449
Cash on hand: $64,804
More on campaign finance: Federal Election Commission
Worth reading: "Sean Meloy hopes to represent his home district in U.S. Congress" (Nicholas Vercilla, Beaver County Times)
"Democratic candidate for 17th District seat hopes to become Pa.'s first openly gay congressman" (Julian Routh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


Republicans

Kathy Coder

 Kathy Coder
Courtesy the Coder campaign
Kathy Coder

The lone female candidate in the 17th District race, Coder is no stranger to politics: She’s run for state legislature and finished second in the GOP’s lieutenant governor primary in 2018. She prides herself on being a pragmatist, thanks to her service on Bellevue’s borough council and her work on an initiative in which local municipalities work cooperatively. The Beaver County native says her less ideological approach and her roots in the district set her apart from other Republicans and make her more electable in what could be a key Congressional race.

Party: Republican
Experience: 
Director of Sales Effectiveness, The Brooks Group
Bellevue Borough Council (2008 – 2017)
Education: 
Edinboro University (B.A.); Geneva College (M.S.)
Links: Website | Facebook
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: None currently available
Fundraising Total: $9,775
Cash on hand: $6,365
More on campaign finance: Federal Election Commission


Jason Killmeyer

jason killmeyer.jpeg
Karen Race Photography
/
Courtesy Killmeyer campaign
Jason Killmeyer

Killmeyer is a writer and commentator versed in national-security and foreign policy, and he draws his expertise from work as a consultant on anti-terror strategy. Once a Beltway resident, he says if voters send him back to Washington, D.C., he will “throw sharp elbows” at what he calls the establishment “Blue Blazer Brigade.” He argues that the United States needs new economic and foreign policies to counter a more aggressive Russia and China.

Party: Republican
Experience: 
Founder/President, FreeWork
Columnist and commentator on national security and defense (2021 – present)
Education: 
Penn State University (B.A.); American University (M.A.)
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: None currently available
Fundraising Total: $135,220
Cash on hand: $66,140
More on campaign finance: Federal Election Commission


Jeremy Shaffer

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Friends of Jeremy Shaffer
Jeremy Shaffer

A former Ross Township commissioner, Shaffer is running with a slew of endorsements from Republican Party leaders. He has a platform replete with base-friendly positions on issues such as immigration and “critical race theory,” a previously obscure law-school doctrine that Republicans have seized on to criticize public schools. A Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. graduate, Shaffer works in infrastructure management. In 2018, Shaffer toppled Republican state Sen. Randy Vulkavoich in the primary with help from an outside conservative-advocacy group, but he lost to Democrat Lindsey Williams.

Party: Republican
Experience: 
Ross Township Commission (2014 – 2020)
Education: 
Tulane University (B.S.); University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (MBA); Carnegie Mellon (Ph.D.)
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (Pa.-15); former Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey; more here.
Fundraising Total: $729,063
Cash on hand: $526,545
More on campaign finance: Federal Election Commission
Worth reading: "Former Ross commissioner says he’ll run for GOP spot in 17th District congressional race" (Julian Routh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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