‘The rebel becomes the establishment’: Peduto and Gainey reflect on a historic election

State Rep. Ed Gainey got a humbling message Tuesday night when Mayor Bill Peduto called him to concede the Democratic primary for mayor of Pittsburgh. It was a warning of sorts: You’ve been elected as a grassroots progressive. Now comes the hard part. Peduto knows from experience; he was elected as the progressive candidate in 2013 and, eight years later, the progressive movement in the city coalesced around his rival and ousted him from office. Gainey and Peduto sparred all spring about policing, housing, UPMC and more.

Dispatches from the polls: PA votes to shift emergency powers; Pittsburgh City Council incumbent keep their seats

PublicSource will be updating this story throughout Election Day and monitoring as results come in. Wednesday results updates:

On Pittsburgh City Council —

Two City Councilors facing challengers in their reelection bids, Theresa Kail-Smith and Anthony Coghill, won by comfortable margins. Kail-Smith, the council president who has represented District 2 since 2009, defeated Jacob Williamson with 69% of the vote with 38 of 41 precincts reporting Wednesday morning. Coghill won a second four-year term representing District 4, capturing 62% of the vote to defeat Bethani Cameron with all precincts reporting. On state ballot questions —

Pennsylvania voters approved two proposed constitutional amendments that will shift power from the governor to the Legislature when it comes to declaring, extending and ending states of emergency.

Gainey topples Peduto in primary, will be Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor, barring a November challenge

State Rep. Ed Gainey defeated Mayor Bill Peduto in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, clearing a path to become Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor and signaling a shift in the city’s politics. 

There were no candidates for the office on the Republican ballot, though an independent could oppose Gainey in November’s general election. Gainey is the first challenger to unseat an incumbent mayor since 1933. “One person can’t change a city. A city is changed with all of us," Gainey said after his victory. "A city is changed when we all come together to improve the quality of life for everybody.

Headshot photos of Mayor Bill Peduto and state Rep. Ed Gainey. Peduto wears glasses and a gray blazer. Gainey wears a black vest and gray shirt.

More than $1 million has gone into Pittsburgh’s mayoral race. Where did it come from?

Tuesday marks the end of Pittsburgh’s contentious mayoral race in which incumbent Bill Peduto and leading challenger state Rep. Ed Gainey raised more than $1.2 million combined in campaign funds since Jan. 1. The financial records of their campaigns show markedly different strategies and donor bases. While Peduto holds a major financial advantage, raising far more money and pulling in tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-state contributions, Gainey leads in small donations and has more evenly dispersed support across the city. PublicSource analyzed each candidate’s donations.

A fuzzy photo of a computer screen with multiple people in a video meeting.

Racist ‘Zoombombing’ attacks have marred virtual events. Here’s how to protect your virtual space.

A historically Black sorority at Slippery Rock University saw its virtual poetry workshop in February overtaken by unknown users who hurled racist imagery and slurs into the Zoom space. Other groups in the region were victims of similar attacks while trying to host Black History Month events. Commonly referred to as “Zoombombings,” the intrusions are a national trend that began as colleges and schools moved classes to Zoom in March 2020. Platform providers and meeting organizers are still unable to reliably prevent them a year on. Zoombombings can go beyond disruption and cause physical and mental harm to traditionally marginalized communities.

Pittsburgh police officers during a protest in June 2020. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

As the country braces for unrest, here’s what you should know about staying safe in Pittsburgh

The country is on edge after a mob incited by the president overtook the U.S. Capitol last week, resulting in the death of five people and a sense that the security of American democracy is at risk. 

The Washington Post reported that right-wing groups are planning additional armed marches leading up to the Jan. 20 inauguration, according to Alethea Group, which analyzes and combats disinformation online. The report by Alethea Group’ showed plans for activity in all 50 state capitals as well as some other cities, including Pittsburgh. In a Jan. 12 statement, the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office said the agency is aware of reports of possible “protests in our area,” and that FBI agents interviewed a “Pittsburgh-based individual” cited in the report.

An application for a mail-in ballot on a tan clipboard.

Election week was stressful in Pennsylvania. Will future elections look the same?

Pennsylvania was shoved into the spotlight of the week-long, real-life drama of an election unlike any other in modern history. Counties worked around the clock for days to tabulate a record number of mail-in ballots, and the nation waited to learn the fate of the commonwealth’s 20 electoral votes. Cable news viewers across the world became intimately familiar with local geography, such as the voting tendencies of Philadelphia’s “collar counties” and Erie’s status as a presidential bellwether. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman caught national attention for saying that President Donald Trump could “sue a ham sandwich” and that every vote would be counted despite Trump’s protests. 

Is this our new normal? Every four years, will the country watch as Pennsylvania spends five days, or more, counting mail-in ballots?