Summer Lee wins, paves way to becoming first Black woman from Pennsylvania in Congress | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Summer Lee wins, paves way to becoming first Black woman from Pennsylvania in Congress

click to enlarge Summer Lee addresses supporters during her Election Day party on Tue., May 17. - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
Summer Lee addresses supporters during her Election Day party on Tue., May 17.
Three days after primary Election Day results were too close to call on May 17, the race for U.S. Congress in District 12 now has a proclaimed winner: state Rep. Summer Lee.

The Associated Press called the results for Lee shortly after 6 p.m. on Fri., May 20, following a contentious five-way battle for the House seat. The race included over $3 million in ads purchased by United Democracy Project, a super PAC with ties to pro-Israel, pushing for Lee's closest opponent, Squirrel Hill attorney Steve Irwin, to win with claims that Lee isn't a "real Democrat."
As of Friday evening, Lee has received 41.8% of the votes, while Irwin is at 41.1%, followed by law professor Jerry Dickinson at 10.9%, according to Politico. The tally includes 98.7% of the expected votes.

If Lee wins the general election this fall against Republican candidate Mike Doyle, she'll become the first Black woman from Pennsylvania elected to Congress.
click to enlarge Supporters cheer for Summer Lee during her Election Day party on Tue., May 17. - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
Supporters cheer for Summer Lee during her Election Day party on Tue., May 17.
At her Election Day party at Emerald City on Tuesday, Lee declared victory just after midnight, at which time she led by about 500 votes. But the official results were delayed for days, following 31 precincts unable to submit their in-person Election Day ballots due to a memory stick issue. The election Return Board reconvened on Friday morning to continue counting ballots, and Allegheny County reported that, as of 4:15 p.m. on Friday, all in-person ballots were added to the official results.


On Friday night, Steve Irwin conceded in a tweet, saying that "it is clear to me that the math is not on our side."
"I want to congratulate Summer Lee for winning the Democratic nomination for Congress in PA-12," he continues. "She ran a formidable campaign, one that reflected her determination to make progress for people and give a voice to the voiceless. She will be an outstanding member of Congress and an inspirational leader for our region."

Dickinson previously tweeted his congratulations to Lee on Thursday evening, calling it a "historic victory," adding that he knows "we can count on her to be a champion of progressive values."

Allegheny County spokesperson Amie Downs says the board will return to the elections warehouse on Mon., May 23 to review any ballots left to be counted, which includes provisional ballots and rejected absentee/mail-in ballots.

After AP called the race, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, who also made an appearance at her Tuesday night election party, tweeted his support.
click to enlarge Summer Lee addresses supporters during her Election Day party on Tue., May 17. - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
Summer Lee addresses supporters during her Election Day party on Tue., May 17.
"Tonight we celebrate @SummerForPa," he posted. "Her victory is a win for every resident in #PA12 and working families everywhere. She will bring all of our voices to Washington, DC and continue the fight for justice and equity every single day. Now, let’s go get it!"

Lee officially announced her candidacy for U.S. Congress in October 2021 after longtime U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (not to be confused with the current Republican U.S. House candidate Mike Doyle) was retiring from the position at the end of his current term.

In 2018, Lee became the first Black woman from Southwestern Pennsylvania to be elected to state legislature. Since then, she started UNITE PAC, a political-action group supporting other progressive candidates, particularly women, LGBTQ candidates, and candidates of color. Lee won re-election in 2020, beating her challenger with about 75% of the votes.

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