The creator of the Unity Township site dedicated to former President Donald Trump that gained international attention has publicly announced her plans to seek the Republican nomination to run in a special election later this year for the vacant seat in the 59th Legislative District in Westmoreland and Somerset counties.
Leslie Baum Rossi, a local Republican delegate who transformed a home along Route 982 into the red-white-and-blue “Trump House” amid Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and helped hundreds register to vote or change their party affiliation at the local landmark, told the Bulletin she recently submitted her name for consideration by the counties’ Republican committees.
Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, ordered a special election to coincide with Pennsylvania’s primary election on Tuesday, May 18, to fill the vacant seat in the 59th Legislative District in Westmoreland and Somerset counties.
The vacancy was created by the sudden passing of Rep. Mike Reese, R-Westmoreland/Somerset, who died earlier this month of an apparent brain aneurysm.
Reese, 42, of Mount Pleasant Township, was elected to his seventh term in the House of Representatives in November. He ran unopposed.
He represented the 59th District, which encompasses portions of Somerset and Westmoreland counties, including Cook, Donegal, Fairfield, Ligonier, Mount Pleasant and St. Clair townships, along with parts of Hempfield and Unity townships and Bolivar, Donegal, Laurel Mountain, Ligonier, New Florence and Seward boroughs.
When she’s not working at the Trump House, Rossi renovates and rents out property for Crystal Creek Management.
She was invited to Washington, D.C., in August to witness Trump accept the Republican Presidential nomination on the White House South Lawn.
“Donald Trump was easy to rally behind and it was a time to step up if we wanted change and many people saw that change was necessary,” Rossi said. “The platform Trump ran on and the ideas he proposed were what many of us were thinking. He opened the minds of once quiet voters who were listening to what he was saying he would do for the country and they were ready for a drastic change to make their lives better.”
Both party committees will convene and appoint conferees, who will hear from candidates and nominate their party’s candidate to run in the May 18 special election.
Rossi is among several people who have reached out to the Republican committees expressing interest in the party’s nomination, and the first to publicly announce they are seeking the party’s nod.
“We must make our party strong and have candidates that will serve their community,” Rossi said. “We need term limits and leaders that follow the Constitution... Republicans can not give up on the party. We must stand up for Trump’s policies and continue to ‘Make America Great Again,’ and I am committed to doing that and being there for the people in my district so they have the representation they want and deserve.”