Mark Mustio failed in his attempt to claim the seat left by good friend State Sen. John Pippy in Tuesday’s primary election.
Mustio, aiming for the 37th District Senate seat, fell short, coming in third behind winner D. Raja and grassroots candidate Sue Means. Raja claimed 44% of the vote and Means claimed 31%. That left just 25% for Mustio.
Mustio faced a tough election after the Post-Gazette withdrew its endorsement of him following a racially-tinged ad directed at Raja’s Indian heritage. Mustio said he thinks the withdrawal was just another part of a tough campaign.
“I just think it was compounded to the rest of the negativity,” Mustio said. “I mean, when you have that much money put on television against you, it’s going to drive your negatives down. I’m sure it had an impact on some of the turnout for me, and that’s just part of the strategy. If you can’t get your votes up, you get the other person’s down and that’s just the way it is.”
Mustio said he felt no regrets in how he ran his campaign, and took it as a small consolation prize that the seat will likely be filled by a Republican unless the Democrats mount a write-in campaign before the fall election. He said he plans to work with Raja to continue some of what Pippy has done in the seat, and knows he has the community’s best interests in mind.
“I talked to him and we’ll get together probably in a couple of weeks and we’ll work together to make this area great,” he said.
Mustio was also running for the Republican nomination for his State House seat. He was unopposed in that race and will face Democrat Mark Scappe in November. Scappe was also unopposed. Scappe picked up 3,135 votes in the Democratic Primary and Mustio grabbed 4,231 votes.