Greg Parks, the Pleasant Hills Democrat running for State Senate in the 37th district, believes enough people wrote his name on the ballot to make him eligible for a run in the general election.
The 50-year old Parks is a former member of the Pleasant Hills Council, and currently works as an instructional assistant at McKeesport High School.
Parks missed the deadline to file petitions that would have allowed him to appear on Tuesday’s primary ballot, so he conducted a write-in campaign. He said when he heard that Senator John Pippy (R-Moon) was retiring, he found out there were no Democrats jumping into the race.
“And I thought that’s kind of a shame because I like to have choices in elections,” said Parks. “So I had kind of asked around what was going to go on, and they had said no one was running, and they asked about the write-in attempt, and I said, ‘Yeah sure. You know, I’ll give it a shot.’”
Parks said he will find out in about two weeks whether he received the highest amount of the 2,751 write-ins that were cast. According to state law, Parks needs a minimum of 500 write-ins from Tuesday’s primary to be eligible for the general election. And, because there were no Democrats on the primary ballot, the party can’t just choose a candidate to run in the general election.
He said he didn’t get the petition signatures he needed for the primary election because of the short time he had.
“I think we’ve conditioned people not to open their doors during the day, so it was tough to go around to neighborhoods and get people to open their doors and sign,” said Parks. “And I think a lot of people are just frustrated in general with politicians. It’s all negative and they get tired of hearing it.”
Parks said he relied heavily on attending committee meetings and local events to meet people.
If Parks is able to move on to the general election, he will come up against former Mt. Lebanon commissioner D. Raja, who won the GOP primary. He said he wasn’t pleased by the campaigns of some of the Republicans running in the primary, particularly State Rep. Mark Mustio.
“It should be a battle of ideas, and if your only thing you can do is trash your opponent, then you really shouldn’t be running, because you have nothing to offer,” said Parks. “And I think that’s how I’m going to run the campaign, about ideas and what’s best for Pennsylvania.”
Parks admits he’ll face an uphill battle in the general election with little name recognition.
“It’ll be tough but I’m going to have fun with it, otherwise there’s no point in doing it,” Parks said.