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In her last race for the 37th District state House seat, McKeesport Councilwoman V. Fawn Walker-Montgomery had to fight her way onto the Republican ballot via write-in votes to run against indicted incumbent Democratic Rep. Marc Gergely. Despite garnering nearly 40 percent of the votes, she lost.

Since then, however, Gergely has been convicted of multiple felonies and is stepping down. That will necessitate a special election, and Walker-Montgomery is in the race again—and again she is an underdog.

Though not running against a corrupt, incumbent Democrat who still had all the party’s backing, this time she is running against Austin Davis, who, like her, is Black and a native of McKeesport. But he is also an aide to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and the Allegheny County Democratic vice chair—meaning he will likely have all the party’s backing.

When she announced her candidacy, Sept. 13, she said it was always her intention to run again in 2018—now she will just be doing it earlier.

“Other than it being an open seat, to me it’s not that different. I’m still running against the little boys’ club and the machine that supported an indicted incumbent,” she said.

“I was in this race when it was hard. I mean, God bless Austin for his success and the positions he’s attained, but what has he done there? How many Black candidates has the Democratic Party endorsed since he’s been vice chair? Being in a position and doing something there are different things.”

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