Democrat Bill Petulla launches campaign for Pa. 28th House District

Petulla, chief deputy trial attorney in the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, is the first candidate to enter the legislative race.

By: - December 12, 2023 3:29 pm

Democratic candidate for Pa. House District 28 Bill Petulla (Photo via Petulla campaign)

Bill Petulla, a prosecutor in the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, has announced his candidacy for the state House’s 28th District. 

“This campaign is about fighting for real solutions to the partisan gridlock gripping Harrisburg, and putting people over politics,” said Petulla in a press release Monday. “As a prosecutor, I see people after the system has failed them, and I’m running to be proactive in making government work for people again.”

“I’m running to increase resources for law enforcement, lower the barrier to mental health services for youth, and advocate for good-paying union jobs,” he said. “We deserve so much more than what Harrisburg has produced over the last decade.”

Petulla, a Democrat, is the first candidate to join the 2024 race for the district that represents parts of Allegheny County. 

The seat is currently held by state Rep. Rob Mercuri (R-Allegheny), who is not running for reelection next year as he seeks to challenge U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-Allegheny) for Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District

For the last 15 years, Petulla has served in the district attorney’s office. He currently works as the chief deputy trial attorney. 

Before working in the district attorney’s office, Petulla worked as an attorney for KidsVoice, a nonprofit child advocacy group, and was an active member of the United Steelworkers union.

Petulla has been endorsed by Allegheny County Sheriff Kevin Kraus and the Pennsylvania Laborers’ District Council. According to his campaign, they will be rolling out more endorsements this week. 

Mercuri is currently serving his second term representing the 28th House District. He was first elected in 2020 by defeating Democrat Emily Skopov by 7 points in the open race for the seat previously held by House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny). Mercuri secured a second term in 2022 by fending off a challenge from Democrat Alison Duncan.

No Republican has formally joined the race, but WESA reports that Jeremy Shaffer is “widely expected” to run for his party’s nomination for the seat. In 2022, Shaffer cruised to the GOP nomination for the 17th Congressional District, but lost to Deluzio by just under 7 points. In 2018, Shaffer defeated incumbent GOP state Sen. Randy Vulakovich by double digits, but lost to Democrat Lindsey Williams in the general election by less than 1,000 votes for the state Senate’s 38th District.

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John Cole
John Cole

John Cole is a journalist based in Philadelphia. He's worked for various outlets such as The Northeast Times, PoliticsPA, and PCN. In these previous roles, he covered a wide range of topics from local civic association meetings to races across the commonwealth. He earned a degree in journalism from Temple University.