By a 3-to-1 margin, former legislative aide Abby Major has won the special election for the 60th Legislative District seat, covering Blacklick, Conemaugh and Young townships in Indiana County and parts of Armstrong and Butler counties.
Major, the Republican nominee, thanked supporters, especially her former boss, state Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Ford City, as she defeated Democrat Dr. Frank Prazenica and Libertarian Andrew Hreha.
“I’m so blown away and honored by the support everyone in the 60th District has given me and the faith that they have in me to represent them in Harrisburg,” she said.
According to combined returns available early today from election offices in Indiana, Kittanning and Butler, Major had 9,222 votes, Prazenica 2,331 and Hreha 473.
Major served as Pyle’s chief of staff for 10 years.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and effort to help me with this election, especially Jeff Pyle,” she added. “I’m looking forward to getting to work for the district.”
At 11:08 p.m. Tuesday, with 62 Armstrong County precincts counted, Major was leading Prazenica by 6,546 to 1,308, while Hreha had 348 votes, and 34 write-in votes had been cast.
In Butler County, it was Major 1,800, Prazenica 687 and Hreha 75.
In Indiana County, Major had 876, Prazenica 336 and Hreha 50.
Butler County voters cast three write-in votes; Indiana County voters cast one.
Before the election, Major said her major selling point as a state legislator is that she knows what the job entails from years of working with Rep. Pyle, and how to navigate the daily problems and issues that arise on the job.
“Jeff currently has around three-quarters of a million dollars in grant funding pending that could potentially be lost because of his retirement,” Major said, “… but I know the people who promised it to him and I can make sure that funding gets home.”
Major said she has received endorsements from the NRA, Gun Owners of America and Firearm Owners Against Crime.
She has also received endorsements from two pro-life groups, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and LifePAC; and from pro-business groups such as the PA Chamber PAC, Commonwealth Partners – The Chamber of Entrepreneurs PAC, and the PA Realtors PAC.
Major joined the Army when she finished high school because she knew her family couldn’t afford to send her to college, she added. She deployed to Baghdad in 2005 for 12 months.
In the Army, Major said she was trained as an intelligence analyst with a top secret security clearance.
Prazenica is best known in Indiana County as president of the ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 board of directors.
He has served as an officer in the military, and in civilian life, as a long-time educator, going from teaching math to being a principal, assistant superintendent, then superintendent.
Hreha, who is 22 and a senior at Waynesburg University, said he initially planned to become a media official with the Pittsburgh Pirates, an organization with which he has an internship, but the actions of Gov. Tom Wolf in response to the COVID-19 pandemic changed that.
Indiana Gazette Staff Reporter Patrick Cloonan contributed to this story. Anne Cloonan is a staff reporter for the Kittanning Leader Times, a Sample News Group sibling of The Indiana Gazette.