Democratic nominee for Allegheny County District Attorney Matt Dugan reflects on primary victory

Chief Allegheny County Public Defender Matt Dugan is now the Democratic candidate for Allegheny County District Attorney, beating Stephen Zappala, who has been DA for 26 years.

“We’re really, really happy, humbled,” Dugan told reporters after his victory.

But when Zappala addressed his supporters Tuesday night, it was not a concession speech.

“The Republican party has decided to make me their nominee,” Zappala said.

Zappala, a Democratic candidate got enough write-in votes on the Republican ballot and he’s now considering running as a Republican in November. We asked Dugan about this potential party flip.

“Has he already said that?” Dugan asked. When told yes, he replied, “Ok, well we’ll go back to work, it’s fine.”

With high rates of violent crime, high-profile cases not being solved or prosecuted, including the Air BNB mass shooting, the murder of a teen at a haunted hayride, the death of Jim Rogers after he was tased by police and after two and a half decades of Zappala, voters made it clear they want to see change in the DA’s office.

Ellis Cannon is a lawyer and WPXI political analyst. He says Zappala on a Republican ticket is no guarantee.

“Last night voters thought there was a need for change very consistent with those progressive policies,” Cannon said. “I’ve heard different things in terms of what’s necessary for that to be a valid option, all the way to we’ll see how that plays out to him saying he’s going to kick butt and take names.”

Cannon says while Zappala’s team does a thorough analysis of what went wrong, and determines next steps...

“Dugan can’t look at what he did and just rest,” Cannon says. “He almost needs to double down.”

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