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An initiative to provide nonpartisan, independent elections journalism for southwestern Pennsylvania.

Pa. State House 32nd District: A guide to the 2023 special election between McAndrew and Walker

90.5 WESA

What's at stake: If Republicans can pick off one of the three open seats in Democratic-leaning districts on Feb. 7, they would gain control of the House of Representatives. Republicans already control the Senate, and if they secure the House, they can propose constitutional amendments on voter ID requirements and other matters that would go before voters and bypass Democrat Gov. Josh Shapiro’s veto. If Democrats win all three races, they would gain control of the House for only the third session in the past 28 years.

State Rep. Tony DeLuca held the 32nd state House seat for nearly four decades until he died weeks before the November 2022 election — too late in the cycle for ballots to be reprinted. DeLuca’s win over a Green Party candidate set up the vacancy. The district is centered on Penn Hills, but it also includes Verona, parts of Plum and — after redistricting last year — Oakmont.

Further reading:
"Democrats choose McAndrew as nominee to replace DeLuca in 32nd House District" (Chris Potter, WESA)
"Republican Clay Walker says not to count him out in Feb. 7 special election to replace DeLuca" (Chris Potter, WESA)
"Anthony DeLuca, a fixture of Allegheny County politics, dies at 85" (Chris Potter, WESA)

Joe McAndrew

Joe McAndrew
Gerri Hernandez
McAndrew campaign
Joe McAndrew

If elected, McAndrew would be new to government but not to politics. He’s long been active in the local Democratic Party apparatus — ties that no doubt helped him secure the nomination to represent his party in the race. McAndrew says he’ll help Democrats advance a more worker-friendly and progressive agenda if the party can secure wins in the Feb. 7 elections. And while he would be a freshman legislator in a House that values seniority, McAndrew notes that his party work already has established a working relationship with established Democrats — some of whom have been door-knocking for him this winter.

Experience: McAndrew ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor of Oakmont in 2017, but he went on to become the executive director for the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, handling day-to-day administrative tasks. He also became chair of the Penn Hills Democratic Committee after moving to that community.
Education: University of Dayton
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Backed by a number of labor groups, as well as Clean Water Action and Planned Parenthood

Clayton Walker

 Clayton Walker is the GOP nominee in a special election this February to replace the late state Rep. Tony DeLuca.
Oliver Morrison
90.5 WESA
Don Nevills

Walker, of Verona, is a health care customer service representative, but he’s also the pastor of The Mustard Seed Church, a Christian church in Monroeville. He says that his role as a faith leader and his beliefs are sometimes misconstrued. He’s a staunch conservative when it comes to gun rights and criminal justice, although he says political realities make him wary to take on issues such as abortion and what sort of access transgender students should have to scholastic sports. Walker is a Black Republican in a district that is becoming more diverse — it is over one-quarter Black — and he says concerns about education motivated him to get into the race.

Party: Republican
Experience: Walker is a U.S. Army veteran. This is his first run for office.
Education: University of Pittsburgh
Links: Website| Facebook | Twitter
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Gun Owners of America

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.