Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District: A guide to the 2022 primary and candidates – 90.5 WESA

Posted By on April 23, 2022

What's at stake:For the first time in 25 years, Pittsburgh will have a new representative in Congress. Longtime U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, a Democrat, announced his retirement last fall. Some candidates running this spring say Doyles departure gives voters the opportunity to have a more outspoken, progressive voice in Washington, DC. But this election will still have a Mike Doyle on the ballot: A Republican by the same name is running.

Further reading: "Few policy differences in 12th Congressional District debate, but contrasts in style, philosophy" (Chris Potter, WESA)"Israel emerges as issue in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District race" (Chris Potter, WESA)

Note: Campaign finance data updated 4/18/22.

Jerry Dickinson

Courtesy the Dickinson campaign

Dickinson is a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who lives in Swissvale. He first sought election to Congress in 2020 as a progressive challenging the incumbent Doyle, and he ran on expanding access to health care, climate justice, and making Pittsburgh a livable place for Black residents. Dickinson grew up in the foster care system with 10 brothers and sisters in Shaler Township.

Party: Democrat Experience:Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Law (2020 present)Education: College of the Holy Cross (B.A.); Fordham University (J.D.)Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | TikTokCandidate surveys: League of Women VotersMajor endorsements: Teamsters Joint Council No. 40; former Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chair Jim Burn; multiple current and former local elected officials and community leaders; more here.Fundraising Total: $614,956Cash on hand: $215,513More on campaign finance: Federal Election CommissionWorth reading: "Pitt professor releasing video to bolster run for Congress" (Julian Routh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Steve Irwin

Jesse Irwin

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Courtesy the Irwin campaign

Irwin is an attorney who specializes in business and labor law. He lives in Squirrel Hill. Earlier in his career, he worked as an aide to former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter and has organized and raised funds for local Democratic efforts. He is a cantor at the Tree of Life Synagogue, although he wasnt there during the 2018 mass shooting. Hes held leadership positions in groups such as Sustainable Pittsburgh, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, and a regional chapter of the Anti-Defamation League.

Party: Democrat Experience:Host, Political Jungle, Pittsburgh Community Television (2015 present); service on boards of infrastructure and securities commissions including Pittsburgh Parking Authority and Southwestern Pennsylvania CommissionEducation:Harvard University (A.B.); Georgetown University (J.D.)Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramCandidate surveys: League of Women VotersMajor endorsements: Allegheny County Democratic Committee; retiring U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.-18), Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; former Pittsburgh Mayor Bill PedutoFundraising Total: $953,403Cash on hand: $614,381More on campaign finance: Federal Election CommissionWorth reading: "Pittsburgh attorney Steve Irwin joins race to replace Doyle" (Chris Potter, WESA)

Summer Lee

Lee represents Pittsburgh communities such as Regent Square, Braddock and Rankin in the state House. She was first elected in 2018 after beating out longtime Democrat Paul Costa by running on a platform centered on environmental and social justice issues. In Harrisburg, she has been a strong voice on issues such as police accountability. Earlier this year, she was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Party: Democrat Experience:Pennsylvania House of Representatives 34th District (2019 present)Education: Penn State University (BA); Howard University (J.D.)Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramCandidate surveys: League of Women VotersMajor endorsements: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Presley (Md.-7); Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey; state Sen. Nik Saval (Philadelphia); 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club. More here.Fundraising Total: $574,815Cash on hand: $382,626More on campaign finance: Federal Election CommissionWorth reading: "'We dont have time anymore to wait': Summer Lee announces Congressional bid" (Chris Potter, WESA)

Will Parker

Parker lives in Garfield and is a Pittsburgh native who previously ran an abortive campaign for mayor last year. He did not respond to interview requests about his campaign.

Party: Democrat Links: Website | Twitter | InstagramCandidate surveys: League of Women VotersMajor endorsements: None currently availableFundraising Total: $0Cash on hand: $0More on campaign finance: Has not filed with the FEC

Jeff Woodard

Courtesy the Woodward campaign

Woodard is executive director of the Pennsylvania College Access program, an organization that helps low-income high school students enroll in higher education. Hes been active in local politics and is from Erie. Woodard also taught as an adjunct professor at Robert Morris University and the Community College of Allegheny County. He lives in Oakland.

Party: Democrat Experience:College Access Program Administrator, Office of the PA Lieutenant Governor (2000 -- present)Education:Carlow University (B.A.); Point Park University (M.S., M.B.A.)Links: Website | YouTubeCandidate surveys: League of Women VotersMajor endorsements: None currently availableFundraising Total: $1,010Cash on hand: $210More on campaign finance: Federal Election Commission

Mike Doyle

Courtesy the Doyle campaign

Doyle lives in Plum and is a vice president of an insurance company. He has also served as a member of the Plum Borough Council since 2005. Though he shares the same name as the Mike Doyle who has represented the Pittsburgh region in Congress for the past 25 years, they are different people.

Party: RepublicanExperience: Plum Borough Council (2006 present)Education: Kings College (B.S.)Links: Not yet announcedCandidate surveys: League of Women VotersMajor endorsements: None currently availableFundraising Total: Not yet announcedCash on hand: Not yet announcedMore on campaign finance: Federal Election Commission

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Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District: A guide to the 2022 primary and candidates - 90.5 WESA

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