State Rep. Randy Vulakovich, R-Shaler, beat former U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart in a Republican Committee contest today for the GOP's nomination to replace convicted former state Sen. Jane Orie.
With a special election set for Aug. 7 to fill the vacant 40th District seat, the GOP pick was up to 81 Republican officials from Allegheny and Butler counties. After four rounds of tense voting at a Cranberry hotel, Mr. Vulakovich won with 48 votes to 33 for Ms. Hart.
It was a stunning setback for Ms. Hart, a Bradford Hills Republican who formerly held the state Senate seat before joining the U.S Congress. She lost that congressional seat in 2006 to Jason Altmire, a Democrat from McCandless.
Mr. Vulakovich joined the state House in 2007, replacing former state Rep. Jeff Habay, who like Ms. Orie was convicted on corruption charges.
In the August special election, Mr. Vulakovich will face the Democratic party's pick, health care consultant Sharon Brown of McCandless.
Committee voters cited Mr. Vulakovich's clean record and three decades as a Shaler police officer in making their decision.
Timothy McNulty: email@example.com or 412-263-1581. First Published June 16, 2012 12:30 AM