Election 2019

Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai holds onto seat against challenger Emily Skopov

Turzai beat the former Hollywood screenwriter, according to unofficial results.

11 pa house mike turzai election 2018
Incline Illustration / Photo: Mike Turzai Campaign Facebook
Sarah Anne Hughes

House Speaker Mike Turzai will return to the General Assembly next year after defeating political newcomer Emily Skopov, who mounted the most serious challenge the Republican has seen since he was elected in 2001.

Turzai beat the former Hollywood screenwriter by nine points, according to unofficial results with all precincts reporting. The Marshall Republican will continue to represent District 28, which includes Bradford Woods, Franklin Park, McCandless Township, and Pine Township.

Skopov announced her candidacy last year as an outsider who would focus on solutions, not party. The Democrat painted Turzai as an obstructionist leader who refused to throw his weight behind bills with bipartisan support like legislation that would extend discrimination protections to LGBTQ people. In September, Skopov claimed Turzai was responsible for holding up the vote on a domestic violence bill, a charge he vehemently denied.

At their one and only debate, Turzai accused Skopov of running the “most negative, irresponsible campaign I have ever seen.” In turn, Skopov told Turzai “you have to accept blame and responsibility for the tone you set.”

Turzai was elected House speaker in 2015 after serving as leader of the chamber for a few years. He’s one of the most consistently conservative voices in the General Assembly on issues like abortion, gun rights, and taxes.

Skopov took a more progressive view on several issues, like abortion access (she’s in favor) and gun control (she wants to ban assault weapons). Democrats were hopeful she could take advantage of a changing electorate in the Pittsburgh suburbs that supported moderate Conor Lamb over conservative Rick Saccone in a special congressional election.

But in the end, Turzai was able to hold on to his seat.

Want some more? Explore other Election 2019 stories.

We love you, Pittsburgh.

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the end of articles.

Because you love learning about Pittsburgh, you need our free morning newsletter, full of useful news, can’t-miss events, and everything else you need to know about our city.

There's no journalism without u.

Reporting and writing stories like this require time — and money. When readers like you become members, it ensures that we’ll be able to keep bringing you the news. Will you join us today?

It feels like we know each other.

It’s nice seeing you here, because we can’t do this without you.

Make our relevant, original, and actionable journalism possible by contributing now.

Let’s make it official.

Your support allows us to do great work like the article you just read, and we can’t do it without you.

Will you become a member today to help us for the long haul?

You’re the best.

Members often ask us how they can go the extra mile to help us. Your financial support makes this possible. Bringing your friends makes it fun.

Get your loved ones to sign up for our daily newsletter today.


Mike Turzai