Democrat Mandy Steele, a Fox Chapel Borough Council member, will represent the 33rd District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, flipping the seat back to Democrats and notching another win for the party in the lower Allegheny Valley.

Steele, who prioritizes abortion access and clean energy, beat small business owner and Republican candidate Ted Tomson II, by about 55% to 45%. 

Steele was in tears while the win was announced at her watch party at Hitchhiker Brewing in Sharpsburg.

“People care about women, and it’s shown in this race and our efforts, and this race was about all of us women, and it’s about climate and listening to our scientists and doing what is right here,” Steele told supporters. “It is about protecting our fair and free beautiful elections for our democracy in this country for everyone and being on the right side of things.”

“This was big, this was meaningful, this was an important race,” Steele added. “They are calling this a bellwether race. This race indicates the tone of this county, and I think we’re on the right side.”

The district is a swing area stretching from Sharpsburg to Harrison, and also provides a way to see changes in voting patterns happening across the state and country: leafy, affluent suburbs moving left and white, blue-collar areas moving right. It has gone back and forth in recent elections between the Democratic and Republican parties.

Brackenridge Mayor Lindsay Fraser said she voted for Steele due to her push for clean energy. Fraser, a proponent of conserving natural resources, has been working on installing solar panels around the municipality.

“Mandy Steele has been at the forefront of initiatives similar to that,” Fraser said. “She could direct a lot of state and federal money to those projects.”

Steve and Kathleen Smith, both of Indiana Township, said they voted “straight Democrat” down the ballot.

“[Steele] seemed to be a good choice, honest choice,” Steve Smith said.

“Republicans think they can fix the economy, but I think it’s out of our control,” Smith added. He also said he was strongly for Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, and “anti-MAGA.”

For conservative voters, inflation and the economy seemed to be at the forefront of their minds when casting their ballots.

David Barr, of Fawn, said he voted for all Republican candidates and favored Tomson over Steele because Tomson would “keep the government out of my business.”

Registered Republican voter Joe Horning, also of Fawn, called Tomson a straight shooter. 

“He doesn’t double talk,” Barr said, noting how he believes President Joe Biden “double talks” by “saying one thing today and another thing tomorrow.” 

Other significant Pennsylvania races dominated voters’ decisions Tuesday.

Vijay Gulati, of Fox Chapel, voted for Libertarian candidates when possible but otherwise selected Republicans. Gulati said he lost faith in Fetterman’s ability to serve after the candidate suffered a stroke in May, and added that he found Mehmet Oz, the celebrity physician who is the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, to be “too slimy.” 

Sarah Krchnavy, of Brackenridge, called the Republican candidates too extreme. 

“Taking away human rights? I just can’t do it,” she said. “No one is telling me what to do with my body.”

Registered as an independent voter, Krchnavy said she likes Fetterman, given his local roots and his promise to challenge some of the current government’s status quo.

“He’s pushing against what should be taken down; he’s the voice of the people,” Krchnavy said.

She said she also voted for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro, and found his work investigating abuse within the Catholic Church to be impressive. 

“That solidified it for me,” she said. “I like his voice; I think he has a lot of teeth.”

As for the state house race, Krchnavy said Steele’s campaign had been pretty aggressive, something she favored.

“I like new blood,” she said. “I believe in term limits, and I am always for the new, fresh candidate.”

Self-proclaimed “classic liberal” Jami Capp, of Indiana Township, and her 13-year-old daughter passed out Tomson pamphlets throughout Election Day. 

Though she had voted for Democrats for the past 17 years, Capp said now she feels abandoned by the Democratic party. 

After the economy took a nosedive, Capp said she became concerned about inflation and the state of the American economy. 

“When you can see the cost of groceries, the cost of gas increasing, when you see money leaving your 401(k), you become concerned,” she said. “The Democrats’ policies are so damaging; there needs to be checks in place.” 

Capp also said that she has issues with fearmongering and censorship from Democratic candidates. 

“It’s insulting that they think I’m going to fall for that,” she said. “The Democratic party lacks credibility. With abortion, they had the opportunity to codify it, but they didn’t. It’s disingenuous.” 

Steele said she stayed busy leafleting throughout the county the entire day.

“There were so many voters out today, record high turnout, so that kept us occupied, and the vibe was very good,” Steele told the Pittsburgh Union Progress. “People want to see women’s rights protected and action on climate, and we felt that throughout the day.”

Once in Harrisburg, Steele said she plans to vote in support of women’s rights, work for “immediate and urgent” action on climate, drive investment in job creation, fund public schools and ensure democracy is protected.

“I feel so excited for this district,” Steele said. “We have so much opportunity here in so many different ways, and I’m really ready to get to work.”

Hannah is a reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but she's currently on strike. Email her

Hannah Wyman

Hannah is a reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but she's currently on strike. Email her