State Sen. John Wozniak, D-Johnstown, has experienced plenty of election-night victories during his 32 years in public office, but few were as close as Tuesday night's win over Republican challenger Tim Houser.
Wozniak, 56, captured the 35th Senatorial District seat with about 51 percent of the vote. With more than 88,000 votes cast, the incumbent's margin of victory came down to about 2,000 votes.
The 35th District includes Cambria, Centre, Clearfield and Clinton counties, as well as Conemaugh Township and Benson, Windber and Paint boroughs in Somerset County.
Wozniak did not respond to repeated requests for comment Tuesday night.
Houser, owner and president of Askew-Houser Funeral Homes in Ebensburg and Nanty Glo, said he was proud of what his campaign team accomplished.
"I came in basically a no-name and, if nothing else, proved that someone can make a difference," he said. "Things didn't turn out so well, but we're happy. Looking back, I can't say I would've done anything differently."
Houser congratulated Wozniak and said he's looking forward to getting back to his day job as a funeral director.
"Although it was a slim margin, the voters reaffirmed their faith in Sen. Wozniak," he said. "I'm proud of him, he fought a good fight."
Houser said he doesn't know if he'll run again for public office in the future.
Wozniak began his career in public service as a member of the House of Representatives in 1980. He was elected to the Senate in 1996. He is the ranking Democrat on the Transportation and Finance committees, and is also a member of the Senate Appropriations, Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure, and Game & Fisheries committees.