And now, a new suburban Pittsburgh district, the one likely to replace Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District, has a new challenger in Democrat Sean Meloy, who is hoping to make history as the state’s first openly LGBTQ U.S. House member.
Meloy is a senior political advisor for Victory Fund, a political group that works to elect LGBTQ people to all levels of government. Meloy’s role is focused on non-federal races. In his announcement video posted on social media, he says he grew up in Hampton Township in Pittsburgh’s North Hills.
“Today, I launch my campaign for Congress in #PA17,” wrote Meloy on Twitter. “I was born and raised in Allegheny County. I’m a public school kid, a lifelong organizer and the product of a middle class upbringing that is no longer available for so many families. I’m running to fix that.”
The new suburban district around Pittsburgh hasn’t been finalized yet, but if it were to remain similar to its current boundaries, it would be a swing district. In 2016, former President Donald Trump won PA-17 by less than three points, and in 2020, President Biden won it by a similar margin.
Today, I launch my campaign for Congress in #PA17.— Sean Meloy (@MeloySM) November 8, 2021
I was born and raised in Allegheny County. I’m a public school kid, a lifelong organizer and the product of a middle class upbringing that is no longer available for so many families. I’m running to fix that.
Let’s do this! pic.twitter.com/QvcQBD7EZ8
Victory Fund noted in a press release that out LGBTQ Democrats in Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New York have successfully won swing districts recently.
Current PA-17 U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Mt. Lebanon) is running for Senate, so the seat is being vacated. Navy veteran Chris Deluzio, also a Democrat, announced his candidacy in August. Republican Tricia Staible, a business owner from Zelienople, announced her candidacy in October.
Victory Fund has not endorsed any candidate yet for the seat, and says in a press release that all candidates will have to go through its endorsement process to be considered. But former Houston mayor and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, Annise Parker, praised Meloy in a statement and said that he is a huge advocate for Pittsburgh and the region.
“There is no bigger advocate for Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities than Sean, who invests enormous amounts of time and resources to building up the Democratic party and its candidates throughout the state,” said Parker. “Not driven by ideology or absolutism, Sean is a leader who prizes progressive pragmatism and believes a government that reflects the diversity of America will perform best for its people. He’s helped many of our LGBTQ members of Congress win tough races in key swing districts, so it is fitting he is now on-track to do the same in Pennsylvania.”