Matt Smith bear hugged supporters and feverishly pumped hit arms in the air moments after learning he had won election to the Pennsylvania State Senate.
The normally subdued 3-term state representative showed more emotion than usual after a hard-fought battle against fellow Mt. Lebanon resident D. Raja.
Smith takes over the seat formerly held by John Pippy. The district wraps around the South Hills of Pittsburgh from Peters Township up to Findlay.
“When you have a message that resonates, then that will trump money every day of the week,” Smith said about being outspent 3-to-1 on the airwaves. “The message we have is resonating with people.”
Smith, standing with his wife, Eileen, and three young children, Delaney, Emerson and Jameson, thanked his family for their patience and supporters for their hard work.
“The time you spend on this for months is unbelievable,” Smith said. “From sun up and sun down for four months.”
Raja conceded to Smith around 10:30 p.m. with most of the precincts reporting. Raja told his supporters he wasn’t expecting this outcome and offered to help the new senator to improve the district.
"It's been a tough night. We weren't expecting this outcome,” Raja said. "I spoke to Matt Smith and congratulated him on the race and told him I would work with him in anyway I can to improve our region."
A year after losing Allegheny County chief executive position last year, was unsure what he would do next.
"I'm going to be involved in the community,” he said. “I feel the need to serve."(Smith is) a great guy and has a lot to offer to the people of this area.”
Smith will have to resign his position as state House 42nd District representative. There will be a special election to fill his seat.