Mike Puskaric candidate photo

Rep. Mike Puskaric

An Elizabeth Township businessman is now the second Republican vying for the party’s nomination for the 39th District seat in the state House.

Mike Puskaric, 28, said Tuesday he plans to seek the post now held by fellow Elizabeth Republican Rick Saccone, who is not seeking a fifth term in the seat he’s occupied since 2011. Saccone is running in a March 13 special election to succeed former 18th District congressman Tim Murphy, who resigned amid scandal in October.

“As a conservative and a young person, I know that it’s time for a new generation of leadership to step up and work for the solutions that have so far eluded past leaders,” Puskaric said in a statement from his campaign. “I’m planning to work hard to promote jobs and economic development, protect our right to keep and bear arms, and finally eliminate the outlandish property tax system that has held back working families in our region.”

The Elizabeth native is director of settlement operations for Matrix Property, a real estate closing company owned by his family. His campaign said he also has been co-chairman of the township’s GOP committee, and holds a leadership role with the Young Republican National Federation.

He faces retired businessman Tom Kirsch of Bethel Park in the May 15 primary.

The only announced Democratic candidate for the seat is Robert Rhoderick, an Elizabeth Township commissioner and chiropractor.

The 39th District includes Wards 2, 3 and 9 in Bethel Park, in addition to other southern Allegheny County communities, plus Finleyville and Nottingham, Somerset and Union townships in Washington County.

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