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Primary 2000: In Pennsylvania State Senate races, Logan wins Democratic nod in 45th

Wednesday, April 05, 2000

By Jan Ackerman and Marylynne Pitz, Post-Gazette Staff Writers

In a cliffhanger election, the 29-year-old mayor of Monroeville won the Democratic nomination in the 45th Senatorial District by 318 votes.

"It was a nail-biter," said Mayor Sean Logan, a clean-cut, personable politician who has been able to tap into the key power outlets in the Allegheny County Democratic Party.

    More on the Pa. Senate campaigns

Primary 2000: Pennsylvania Senate voting


Only when the last precinct was counted early this morning did Logan declare victory over McKeesport's James Brewster in the hotly contested, three-man race for the nomination.

"I was worried all night because I saw that Mr. Brewster and I were pretty even all night. Then Mr. Brewster took the lead and I became even more worried," Logan said.

It was not until votes were counted in the last precincts in McKeesport and Murrysville that Logan's victory was assured.

"I think the eastern suburbs came in very strong for me," Logan said.

Brewster, 51, a vice president at Mellon Bank and former McKeesport council president, had the support of state Sen. Albert "Buddy" Belan, D-West Mifflin, who retired from politics, leaving the 45th District seat vacant.

John Andzelik, 56, a former West Mifflin police chief who was making his first run for public office, ran a weak third.

Logan will face Laurie Zacharia MacDonald, 41, the unopposed Republican candidate, in the general election.

MacDonald is serving her second term as an Elizabeth Forward school director and has been board president since 1995.

The district stretches along eastern Allegheny County from Springdale Township to Forward. It includes the Allegheny County communities of Plum, Monroeville, McKeesport and Elizabeth Township as well as Murrysville and Sewickley Township in Westmoreland County.

Logan, who heads up a new office of consumer protection for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., has established himself firmly in local Democratic bastions.

Before going to work for Zappala, Logan worked for U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Swissvale, and former Allegheny County Commissioner Mike Dawida.

Logan said Doyle served as his campaign chairman in this race.

Brewster, who served for eight years on McKeesport city council and as council president, left council in January. Last year, he waged an unsuccessful race for mayor of McKeesport.

41st Senatorial District

Indiana County Commissioner James McQuown won the Democratic nomination in the 41st Senatorial District, where the retirement of long-time state Sen. Patrick Stapleton, D-Indiana, created a wide-open race for both parties.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, McQuown, 45, an Indiana County commissioner for the past 16 years, defeated his opponent, Charles Fox, 55, a Westmoreland County lawyer.

"We did it the old-fashioned way," said McQuown, who ran with the support of Stapleton and the endorsement of the Indiana County Democrats.

In the three-way race for the Republican nomination, political newcomer Don White, an insurance agent from Indiana, won.

John Gray, 64, a Kittanning businessman, came in second place, and Bill Rush, an insurance agent also from Kittanning, came in third.

White, 49, decided to run for public office because of a personal tragedy.

In May 1998, his 19-year-old son, Ben, was killed in a car crash.

White said his son's death changed his life and made him start thinking about the meaning of life and the importance of giving back to the community.

White said he was overwhelmed by his victory.

Staff writers Kelly D. Burgess and Rhonda Miller contributed to this report.

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