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

Pennsylvania State House 21st District: A guide to the 2022 general election and candidates

90.5 WESA

What's at stake: Democrat Rep. Sara Innamorato is seeking a third term in the state House, but political newcomer Frank Perman hopes to flip the seat in favor of the Republicans. The newly reconfigured 21st State House District straddles the Allegheny River, including booming Pittsburgh neighborhoods (Lawrenceville, Strip District, Troy Hill) and towns that are seeing some of the growth spillover, including Etna and Millvale. The district has voted Democratic for decades.

Sara Innamorato

Reid R. Frazier
StateImpact Pennsylvania
Sara Innamorato

State Rep. Innamorato has served in the Pennsylvania House since 2018, when she arrived as part of a progressive wave that upended a more conservative Democratic delegation from Allegheny County. During her time in office, she’s introduced or supported bills aimed at increasing affordable housing and establishing environmental protections to guarantee access to clean drinking water. She's also been an advocate for reproductive rights. Innamorato is considered a possible candidate to run for Allegheny County Executive in 2023, but she has yet to make any public announcements.

Party: Democratic
Experience:  Pennsylvania House — District 21 (2019 — present)
Education:  University of Pittsburgh (B.S.)
Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
Candidate surveys: WESA Candidate Survey; League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: SEIU; Pennsylvania AFL-CIO; Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania; Planned Parenthood; more here.
Total contributions (2021-2022): $44,255.10
Total expenditures (2021-2022): $34,130.00
Worth reading:
"At national convention, Pittsburgh progressives say movement must be bold" (Chris Potter, WESA)
"Legislators want to legalize sterile syringe distribution in attempt to capture federal dollars" (Sarah Boden, WESA)

Frank Perman

Perman is a licensed funeral director and owner of Perman Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Shaler Township. He did not respond to multiple interview requests, but his campaign messaging strikes familiar conservative themes such as stopping “out-of-control” government spending and a desire to “identify potential areas of local job growth.”

Party: Republican
Experience: Funeral Director / Owner of Perman Funeral Home and Cremation Services
Education:  University of Dayton (B.S.); Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science
Links: Website | Facebook
Candidate surveys: WESA Candidate Survey; League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: National Federation of Independent Business Pennsylvania; Firearm Owners Against Crime.
Total contributions (2021-2022): $2,750.00
Total expenditures (2021-2022): $2,624.05

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.