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Turnout for yesterday's special state Senate election yesterday was 13.57% in Allegheny County, going from a low of 7.16% in Pine to 29.3% in a district in Shaler.

Thanks to the Allegheny County elections division for the data. Butler County had not yet processed their numbers.

Randy Vulakovich and son

Randy Vulakovich kisses his grandson Tyler Vulakovich, 2, as he is held by Mr. Vulakovich's son Randy Vulakovich Jr., right, after arriving at a campaign party Tuesday at Monte Cello's restaurant in Allison Park. Jim Roddey is at far left. Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette.

Randy Vulakovich's campaign team -- aided in great part by his wife Bonnie and son Randy Jr. -- made 20,000 phone calls to rally Republicans for his 40th District special election race yesterday but he was still nervous. Like the old days in the squad car, he nervously drove around his home municipality, one of the most vote-rich in all of Allegheny County, after 8 p.m. checking the tallies at various polls before finally getting to his election night party around 9. It was clear he was going to win (when Allegheny and Butler county's numbers were crunched it would be a 73-27% win over Democrat Sharon Brown) but he wouldn't admit it while walking around an Italian restaurant at an Allison Park strip mall, greeting supporters.

He explained to a perplexed reporter facing an early 9 p.m. deadline: "I've always had the opinion that nothing is easy, you gotta work for it and you gotta work hard. Certain variables can come in and turn things upside down."

Vulakovich of course cruised to victory and was soon being toasted at the mike by Jim Roddey, state Sen. Kim Ward of Westmoreland (whose son Mike served as campaign manager, with assistance from Mark Harris and Cold Spark Media) and others, including his family. Vulakovich's past victory parties had been held at the family's bungalow-type house in Shaler, his wife told me early in the night, but it was clear by the looks of the 200 or so crushing the pizza at Monte Cello's that should never could have fed them all. Besides the family was due to go on its annual beach vacation today and hadn't started packing.

They didn't need to make room for one small thing in his suitcase.

"I'm glad the race is over. I know when you see the football players after the Super Bowl they say, 'Where are you going?' and they say 'We're going to Disneyworld.' Well tomorrow morning I'm going to Myrtle Beach," Vulakovich said. "You'll be happy to know since I won the Senate race and stepped it up a little bit I'm not going to wear my Speedo," the large man continued to laughs from the crowd. "Canadians do it all the time. . . So I won't embarrass you down [in] Myrtle Beach."

Jim Roddey

Allegheny County's GOP chair and former county executive Jim Roddey has long been known for being quotable, and he added to that reputation tonight in a joke equating Obama supporters with the mentally disabled.

Roddey as usual acted as MC at the election night party for state Rep. Randy Vulakovich, R-Shaler, who won the special election to fill convicted state Sen. Jane Orie's seat in Pittsburgh's northern suburbs. Vulakovich beat Democrat Sharon Brown at about 74-26%, which Roddey said "is the largest margin we've had in 50 years!"

That got a huge response from the partisan GOP crowd of about 200 people at Vulakovich's party, whereupon Roddey went into his Obama joke.

"There was a disappointment tonight. I was very embarrassed. I was in this parking lot and there was a man looking for a space to park, and I found a space for him. And I felt badly -- he looked like he was sort of in distress. And I said, 'Sir, here's a place.' And he said, 'That's a handicapped space.' I said, 'Oh I'm so sorry, I saw that Obama sticker and I thought you were mentally retarded."

The crowd hollered and clapped, and then Roddey went into the the usual thanks at political events for grassroots supporters of the winning candidate.

Roddey has long been a vocal supporter of Mitt Romney, even before the GOP presidential field was settled, and has joined GOP voices supporting the state's strict new voter ID rules -- at a Romney event last month he joked he had re-done is will so he could be buried in Philadelphia and vote from the grave.

UPDATE: Roddey has apologized.

Should state Rep. Randy Vulakovich, R-Shaler, win the 40th District special tonight and move on to the state Senate he'll only have until next week -- Aug. 13 -- to take his name off the Nov. 6 ballot for his current state House seat. When/if that happens local Republican party officials will have nominate a candidate to take on Democrat David Tusick of Fox Chapel.

There are already names circulating. They include Hampton GOP committeeman Mike McMullen; Vulakovich aide and Shaler commissioner David Shutter; and Pittsburgh Tea Party leader Patti Weaver of Fox Chapel.

UPDATE 9:42 PM: Vulakovich and Allegheny GOP chair Jim Roddey have just endorsed attorney/Marine Corps vet Hal English to replace him in House

Turnout out was definitely low in the 40th District special election today, according to a poll worker we know who was working in McCandless. That should help the candidate (Republican Randy Vulakovich or Democrat Sharon Brown) who had the better get-out-the-vote effort -- we assume that was Vulakovich, but who knows.

We also hear turnout was very, very low in the Butler County section of the district but we'll have to watch final returns to tell. Good numbers might not be available until tomorrow.

Here's what the poll worker wrote us:

Anecdotally, it seemed as if many more women were voting than men, but since we don't keep those stats on election day, it would be tough to assess if that was true, and the impact. 

Apparently two robo calls went out for the D, but the R had a lot more money and apparently did a slew of mailings.  There was also apparently a Democrats for Randy group.

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