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

Pennsylvania State House 45th District: A guide to the 2022 general election and candidates

90.5 WESA

What's at stake: Republican newcomer Michael Pendel is challenging Democratic Rep. Anita Astorino Kulik for the seat she’s held since 2016. The 45th District covers a swath of Allegheny County from Neville Island west to Robinson Town Centre, plus Carnegie, Coraopolis, Kennedy Township, parts of McKees Rocks and parts of Robinson, Stowe and Scott townships.

Anita Astorino Kulik

Anita Astorino Kulik
Courtesy the Kulik campaign
Anita Astorino Kulik

Kulik, an attorney, grew up in Carnegie and lives in Kennedy Township, where she served for 13 years as a commissioner before her election to the state House. She is a former legislative director to her predecessor, state Rep. Nick Kotik. Unusual among Democrats, Kulik is opposed to abortion rights; in 2021, she was the lone Democrat among 70 sponsors of a House bill to prohibit the abortion of any child solely due to a diagnosis of possible Down syndrome. She's “dedicated to creating jobs and growing the economy,” according to her campaign website, and she has expressed a desire to focus on improving local transportation infrastructure.

Party: Democratic
Experience: Pennsylvania House of Representatives – 45th District (2016 – present)
Education: Duquesne University (BA, J.D.)
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 
Candidate surveys: WESA Candidate Survey; League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Allegheny County Democratic Committee, Western PA District Laborers Council, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, United Mine Workers of America, Steamfitters Local 449, Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Political Action Committee for Education
Total contributions (2021–2022): $115,645.50
Total expenditures (2021–2022): $65,882.39
Worth reading:
"GOP primary candidate seeking 45th House seat" (Jamie Wiggan, Gazette 2.0)

Michael Pendel

Bill O'Driscoll

Pendel, an account executive for medical-devices business Rotech Healthcare, grew up in Robinson Township and returned to the district after college. According to his website, he used to work at the construction business owned by his father, Robinson Township tax collector Michael Pendel, and as an international sales director at a nutraceutical corporation. He opposes abortion rights — his campaign website says he "will wholeheartedly protect the sanctity of life through all of its delicate stages” — and voices strong support for the natural gas industry.

Party: Republican
Experience: Account executive, Rotech Healthcare
Education: Duquesne University (B.A.)
Links: Website | Facebook | Instagram
Candidate surveys: WESA Candidate Survey; League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Gun Owners of America
Fundraising (Pendel for PA, 2021-2022):
Total contributions: $3,229.80
Total expenditures: $2,829.72
Worth reading: “GOP primary candidate seeking 45th House seat” (Jamie Wiggan, Gazette 2.0)

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: