Pittsburgh Moves to Switch Democrats

Ed Gainey beats two-term incumbent for mayor, nearing historic general election
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2021 6:00 PM CDT
Pittsburgh Moves to Switch Democrats
State Rep. Ed Gainey speaks to supporters after winning the Democratic mayoral primary.   (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette via AP)/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

Democrats voted out Pittsburgh's mayor in their primary Tuesday, putting a challenger on track to become the first Black person to hold the city's top job. Mayor Bill Peduto, who's in his second term, called Ed Gainey to congratulate him. "Wishing him well," Peduto tweeted. Gainey, a state representative, led 46% to 39% as of Wednesday morning. He's nearly assured of victory in November; there was no Republican on the primary ballot, the Post-Gazette reports. Both candidates support progressive policies, but Gainey said Peduto had had plenty of time to do more than he has. Peduto said that the city had a long list of problems when he took over, and that putting together the best partnerships to create a more equitable city takes time. Communities of color, Gainey said, especially were suffering in the interim.

Gainey's campaign focused on racial and economic equity, per the New York Times. Pittsburgh often shows up on "most livable" lists, and he repeatedly raised the question, "Livable for whom?" Promising to work for everyone, Gainey would answer his question with information gathered from reports and task forces Peduto had formed to assess Pittsburgh's problems. "We will do all that we have to do to make this a city that's welcoming for everybody," Gainey said. Progressive candidacies are thriving in the area, unseating not only Republicans but Democrats voters have grown impatient with. "You're not going to find anyone who says Pittsburgh is perfect just the way it is," a county official said, which "does not spell good news for incumbents who created the landscape we live in." (More Pittsburgh stories.)

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