Gainey upsets incumbent Peduto in Pittsburgh mayoral race primary

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Image via Matt Cashore | Gainey for Mayor

The concession after the primary upset win against Bill Peduto puts Ed Gainey on a glide path to becoming the City’s first Black mayor.

By Natalie Frank, News Editor

Mayor Bill Peduto conceded the Democratic primary race for the mayoralty to state Rep. Ed Gainey in a tweet at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday evening. The concession puts Gainey on a glide path to becoming the City’s first Black mayor after the primary upset win against Peduto.

“I just called @gainey_ed and congratulated him on earning the Democratic endorsement for Mayor of the city of Pittsburgh. Wishing him well. Thank you Pittsburgh for the honor of being your Mayor these past 8 years. I will remain forever grateful,” Peduto said in the tweet.

Gainey currently leads Peduto by about 3%, 44.17% to 41.83%, according to the unofficial tally of votes by Allegheny County.

Gainey, who currently represents the state House’s 23rd District in the City’s East End, prioritized criminal justice reform in his campaign, including demilitarizing police weapons and training, and focusing police training on de-escalation techniques.

According to his campaign website, Gainey’s campaign focused on creating a more unified Pittsburgh “where we can all move through our communities without fearing for our lives or loved ones.”

Quinn Murphy, a senior theater arts and gender sexuality and women’s studies double major, voted at Pittsburgh Fire Bureau Station 14 on McKee Place in South Oakland on Tuesday. Murphy said he voted for Gainey based on criminal justice reform that he said was lacking during Peduto’s time as mayor.

“I voted for Ed Gainey for mayor because he has a really good record on criminal justice reform which is something I’m definitely passionate about and want to see here in the city of Pittsburgh,” Murphy said. “I’m not satisfied with the job Mayor Peduto has done as far as that goes and so I thought it was really important to come out and vote for.”

Peduto, who has served as mayor since 2014, was able to win the past two mayoral elections prior to his defeat in Tuesday’s primary. Peduto’s most recent campaign focused on his past actions as mayor, including writing three gun control bills into law in spring 2019, which banned the usage of certain assault and semi-automatic weapons. The bills were written partly in response to the Tree of Life massacre.

Patrick Schwab, a 2020 graduate from Pitt, said he also voted for Gainey on Tuesday. Schwab, who voted at the same fire station on McKee Place, said he voted for Gainey to change how police interact with the Pittsburgh community. 

“I voted for Ed Gainey just because I think we definitely need a change in terms of how the police interact with the community and how funds are distributed to people throughout those communities,” Schwab said. “And how they can be able to better use those funds just to make the entire community and place relationship better than it was prior with Peduto.” 

The Pittsburgh community criticized Peduto for his passivity toward the Black Lives Matter Movement last summer and Peduto said he doesn’t support defunding the police, and disagrees with phrases like “ACAB,” or “All Cops Are Bastards.” 

Other preliminary results from the May primary election are as follows:

Allegheny County Sheriff 

Kevin Kraus

Allegheny County Council District 9

Bob Macey (incumbent)

Pittsburgh City Council District 2

Theresa Kail Smith (incumbent)

Pittsburgh City Council District 4

Anthony Coghill (incumbent)

Pittsburgh City Council District 6

Robert Daniel Lavelle (incumbent) 

Pittsburgh City Council District 8

Erika Strassburger (incumbent)

Pittsburgh Public School Board: District 1

Sylvia C. Wilson (incumbent)

Pittsburgh Public School Board: District 3

Sala Udin (incumbent) 

Pittsburgh Public School Board: District 5

Terry Kennedy (incumbent) 

Pittsburgh Public School Board: District 7

Jamie Piotrowski 

Pittsburgh Public School Board: District 9

Veronica M. Edwards (incumbent) 

PA Supreme Court

Maria McLaughlin

PA Superior Court

Megan Sullivan 

PA Commonwealth Court

David Lee Spurgeon

Allegheny County Proposed Ordinance

Yes

Proposed Home Rule Charter Amendment

Yes

Statewide Referendum – Act 2020-91

Yes

Proposed Constitutional Amendment 1

No 

Proposed Constitutional Amendment 2

No

Proposed Constitutional Amendment 3

Yes

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