With Labor Day election season beginning, the race for Pittsburgh mayor may very well be extra aggressive than normal – CBS Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Labor Day traditionally marks the start of the campaign season, with just eight weeks leading up to the November 2nd general election.
In the so-called free years like 2021, voters elect judges, district officials, school principals and thousands of local officials.
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The biggest local race is for the Mayor of Pittsburgh, with Democrat Ed Gainey the favorite favorite versus Democrat who became Republican Tony Moreno.
“This is the toughest Republican effort I’ve ever seen in town, and it should make it interesting,” political scientist Khari Mosley told KDKA policy editor Jon Delano on Monday.
“I see a level of effort in Tony Moreno’s campaign that I haven’t seen in the past,” added Mosley.
The last Republican mayor-elect of Pittsburgh was Charles Kline in 1929. So can Tony Moreno overcome a Democratic five-to-one registration advantage to beat Ed Gainey?
“The dynamics of this race are really in Ed Gainey’s favor. It’s Ed Gainey’s race to lose, ”said Mosley.
Mosley believes Moreno is arguing stronger than most, but Gainey is still poised to become the first African-American mayor of Pittsburgh, a city that is overwhelmingly white.
So is race no longer an issue?
“There will be racial justice, police accountability, law enforcement and public safety issues that will be a part of it. But I hope it doesn’t become the central theme of the race, which is all about black versus white, ”said Mosley.
Reducing crime in neighborhoods and downtown areas is a big issue that both candidates are addressing. But other problems include housing, transportation, public schools, business districts, road repairs, and even snow removal.
Political scientist Ben Forstate said that the priorities differ from one municipality to another.
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“We’re a city of neighborhoods, and your experiences with city politics will change from neighborhood to neighborhood. And I think it’s something that is really showing up in our elections. It showed up in the spring primary and I think it will show up again in the fall, ”said Forstate.
It is also crucial who goes to vote. Traditionally, the city’s East End has outvoted the districts south and north of the rivers.
Forstate says he is watching certain neighborhoods to see if Moreno can attract Democratic voters.
“How much his support is in areas south and north of the East End, like the far south – Carrick, Overbrook, and the far Northside – Summerhill – these are neighborhoods to watch out for.”
As the city elects a new mayor, statewide voters will elect a new judge to the Seven State Supreme Court, a court that played a key role in the 2020 presidential election.
The candidates are Republican Judge Kevin Brobson of Lycoming County and Democratic Judge Maria McLaughlin of Philadelphia.
“We are a very tightly divided federal state. We’re a swing state and these races are rarely blowouts, ”said Forstate.
Since both candidates are still largely unknown, it usually depends on which party brings more voters to the election.
“In these out-of-year elections, we tend to see Republicans do better because Republican voters are generally more consistent,” Mosley said.
One issue that could play a role this year is abortion, given the US Supreme Court temporarily giving the green light to Texas outlawing almost all abortions.
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Brobson was supported by pro-life groups, while pro-choice groups supported McLaughlin.