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

Pennsylvania State House 40th District: A guide to the 2022 general election and candidates

90.5 WESA

What's at stake: The 40th District spans two counties — Allegheny and Washington — and while Upper St. Clair and Peters Township are widely considered Republican bastions, the politics here can be nuanced. Two-term GOP incumbent Natalie Mihalek fended off a Trump-style challenge from Stephen Renz in the primary and now faces Democrat Chris Todd, a first-time candidate.

Natalie Mihalek

Natalie Mihalek
Mihalek campaign
Natalie Mihalek

Mihalek is the kind of Republican who traditionally does well in the South Hills suburbs: a U.S. Navy vet with experience as a prosecutor, appealing to business groups and even a conservative union or two. Among Republicans, the American Conservative Union ranks her in the middle of the GOP in terms of her conservatism, but she’s opposed to abortion rights and firearm restrictions. She's also recently taken up the ever-popular cause of liquor store privatization.

Party: Republican
Experience: Pennsylvania House of Representatives – 40th District (2018 – present)
Education: University of Pittsburgh (B.A.); Appalachian School of Law (J.D.)
Links: Website | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn
Candidate surveys: WESA Candidate Survey; League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry; National Federation of Independent Businesses; Allegheny County FOP Lodge 91; Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation; NRA Political Victory Fund; more here
Total contributions (2021-2022): $232,450.70
Total expenditures (2021-2022): $218,418.82
Worth reading: "Both sides of gun debate square off over 'constitutional carry' bill" (Chris Potter, WESA)
"Republicans aim to privatize Pennsylvania’s liquor sales by constitutional amendment" (Sam Dunklau, WESA)

Chris Todd

Courtesy the Todd campaign
Chris Todd

Born and raised in Bethel Park, Todd worked in the maritime industry in engineering and sales across the U.S. and internationally before moving back to Peters Township around a decade ago with his family. His first foray into politics was only this past spring, when he won a write-in contest in May for the Peters Township Democratic Committee. The party subsequently asked him to run for the district when Sharon Guidi, a write-in candidate who secured enough votes to make this November’s ballot, decided to bow out. Todd says he got involved because he was “concerned about the viability of our democracy when the validity of our elections are called into question.” He says he's based his campaign on “fundamental rights issues,” including voting and abortion rights.

Party: Democratic
Experience: Democratic Party Committee, Peters Township (2022 – present)
Calgon Carbon UV Technologies and Hyde Marine, executive director (2016 – 2021)
Education: Merchant Marine Academy (B.S.), Purdue University Krannert School of Management (MBA)
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn
Candidate surveys: WESA Candidate Survey; League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: n/a
Fundraising: Has not filed

Patrick Doyle oversees WESA's digital news. Previously, he served as WESA's news director. Email:
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.