By Associated Press - Saturday, July 11, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Republicans in western Pennsylvania have chosen a former district judge as their nominee to fill a state Senate vacancy.

Officials on Saturday picked Guy Reschenthaler as their nominee to replace former senator Matt Smith in the 37th district, which includes communities in Allegheny and Washington counties.

Smith, a Democrat serving his first Senate term, resigned last month to become president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.

GOP officials said Reschenthaler resigned his Jefferson Hills judicial position immediately before accepting the nomination that he captured on the fifth round of balloting. He had 48 votes to beat Bethel Park Council member Paul Dixon, who had 31.

Democrats have yet to choose their nominee for the Nov. 3 election.

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