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Pennsylvania State House 33rd District: A guide to the 2022 primary election and candidates

90.5 WESA

What's at stake: District 33 is a rare open seat because new district boundary lines left its first-term Republican representative, Carrie DelRosso, stranded on the south bank of the Allegheny River. (DelRosso is now running for lieutenant governor.) The district combines Fox Chapel — one of the region's most affluent suburbs — with a slew of working-class neighborhoods in the Alle-Kiski Valley area. Ted Tomson II is the lone Republican running, but the Democratic primary will feature a race between an environmentalist and a candidate who emphasizes industry and union jobs. The recent closure of the district's coal-fired Cheswick Generating Station has highlighted the stakes over debates about energy and the environment.

Further reading: "Different economic visions drive choice for Dems in 33rd state House district" (Chris Potter, WESA)

Note: Campaign finance fundraising totals include contributions raised in 2021 and 2022. Data updated 5/12/22.


Mandy Steele

Matt Cashore

Steele has long been active in supporting efforts to conserve green spaces, and she is a member of the Fox Chapel Borough Council, for which she chairs the Comprehensive Planning Committee. Her environmental causes include an effort to end the use of coal tar as a material for paving area roadways. A member of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, she won the party's endorsement — one of the few progressive Democrats to do so this year. Steele also has been backed by a number of other municipal officials in the district.

Party: Democrat
Fox Chapel Borough Council (2021 – present)
Education: University of Pittsburgh
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Major endorsements: Allegheny County Democratic Committee; multiple local elected officials (municipal, county, school district) listed here.
Fundraising Total: $10,340

Tristan McClelland

For someone just 21 years old, McClelland has amassed a considerable amount of political experience, having been involved with Democratic campaigns since he was in high school. It's partly in his genes: His mother is Erin McClelland, who has herself run for Congress. He also stresses his family's union roots in the area. He's worked for a number of local officeholders, including Pittsburgh City Councilor Anthony Coghill and County Treasurer John Weinstein. McClelland is currently a student at the University of Pittsburgh and plans to graduate this year.

Party: Democrat
Experience: Constituent Services, City of Pittsburgh (2022 – present)
Education: Fox Chapel Area High School; University of Pittsburgh (2022)
Links: Website | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn
Major endorsements: Pennsylvania AFL-CIO
Fundraising Total: $46,394


Ted Tomson II

Running as the lone Republican candidate for the 33rd district, Ted Tomson owns a scrap-metal business in the district as well as the Lernerville Speedway racing track. This is his first run for public office, and like many Republicans, he's campaigning on supporting the fossil-fuel industry as well as election integrity.

Party: Republican
Founder, Cardsona (2018 – present)
Co-Owner, Tomson Scrap Metal (1993 – present)
Co-Owner, Lernerville Speedway/Sarver Racing LLC (2015 – present)
Education: Penn State University (B.S.); Carnegie Mellon University (M.P.P.)
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Major endorsements: Laborers' District Council of Western PA
Fundraising Total: $22,400

A primer on voting information and who is running in the 2024 election for offices in the Pittsburgh metro area and Pennsylvania.

Emily Previti is a podcast producer and data journalist, and executive editor and co-creator of Obscured from Kouvenda Media.