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

Pennsylvania State House 39th District: A guide to the 2022 general election and candidates

90.5 WESA

What's at stake: There is no incumbent in this race, as Republican Andrew Kuzma ousted outgoing Rep. Mike Puskaric in the primary. Kuzma is running on issues common across the GOP: policing, school choice and election reform. Rick Self won the primary as a write-in candidate and is emphasizing typical Democratic issues, such as abortion rights and the environment. The 39th District straddles the Monogahela River — and Allegheny and Washington counties — and includes Jefferson Hills, Elizabeth, Finleyville and Monogahela.

Rick Self

Self says he isn’t your typical Democrat: The longtime evangelical Christian is the father of 10 children, loves to hunt and made his living permitting signs for gas stations. But he also opposes laws, like the one in Texas, that restrict abortion access. Initially, he was running just so voters would have a choice on Election Day. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, however, prompted him to get serious about winning. Self also opposed efforts by local fracking companies to place their wells within 1,500 feet of his grandchildren’s school. He says he’s spending the fall trying to catch up on the campaign trail after being sidelined by back surgery this summer.

Party: Democratic
Experience: Sign permitter
Education: California University (B.A)
Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Candidate surveys: WESA Candidate Survey; League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Pennsylvania AFL-CIO; John Fetterman, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, state Reps. Summer Lee and Austin Davis.
Fundraising: Has not filed

Andrew Kuzma

Andrew Kuzma
John Rossey jorophoto
Courtesy the Kuzma campaign
Andrew Kuzma

Local attorney and former Elizabeth Township Commissioner Andrew Kuzma beat incumbent Mike Puskcaric in the primary with 58% of the vote. He had previously supported Puskaric’s Democratic opponent in 2018. He's running on promises to prioritize police, school choice and election reform, in addition to touchstone issues for conservatives: opposition to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a partnership with 10 New England and Mid-Atlantic states designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Party: Republican
Experience: Elizabeth Township Board of Commissioners (2015 – 2021)
Education: University of Pittsburgh (B.A.); Duquesne University (J.D.)
Links: Website | Facebook | YouTube
Candidate surveys: WESA Candidate Survey; League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: PA Chamber of Business and Industry, National Federation of Independent Business.
Total contributions: $35,139
Total expenditures: $34,722
Worth reading:
"Mizgorski takes Senate 38th district, Mihalek wins in House 40th, and more from local districts" (WESA)
"District 39 clash, Part II: It'll be Mike Puskaric vs. Andrew Kuzma in GOP state House primary" (Julian Routh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Oliver Morrison is a general assignment reporter at WESA. He previously covered education, environment and health for PublicSource in Pittsburgh and, before that, breaking news and weekend features for the Wichita Eagle in Kansas.