‘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.

grid of candidates in pittsburgh 2021 primary elections

Mayor, council, judges: Do you know how you’re voting in the 2021 primary election in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County?

There are several big decisions to make. Pittsburgh is electing a mayor for another four-year term, and the Pittsburgh Public School board has a flurry of candidates that could reshape the district, which has had a controversial year. Additionally, there are nine open seats in the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, which presents a paramount opportunity for criminal justice reform in the region.