PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Incumbent mayors generally do not lose their party primaries.
But that’s what happened to Mayor Bill Peduto in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Hindsight is 20-20, which means that political analysts can now cite a half-dozen reasons why Peduto lost a close election to Ed Gainey.READ MORE: Butler County Planning Walk And Candlelight Vigil To Remember Caitlyn Kaufman
“There is a changing demographic in Pittsburgh, as we have seen for the last year in terms of Democratic politics across the country,” Abass Kamara, a local political strategist, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
Kamara said the city electorate is younger and more progressive than ever, and that created a problem for an incumbent no longer viewed as the young progressive he once was.
“Bill Peduto lost a significant portion of his base,” says political strategist Mike Mikus.
Mikus said the liberal vote in the city split between Peduto and Gainey.
“A number of people who had supported Peduto in the past decided to swing to Gainey,” Mikus said. “And with Tony Moreno in the race, he didn’t have moderate or conservative Democrats to appeal to.”
Both Mikus and Kamara point to the influence of United, a left-wing coalition of progressive activists founded by Pa. Rep. Summer Lee.READ MORE: 'There's A Literal Bear In Our Backyard:' Black Bear Spotted Roaming Penn Borough Neighborhood
“Relatively low turnout yesterday, the influence of a few folks who are organized and are part of a strong coalition can be really effective to change that vote,” said Kamara.
Many say Peduto was hurt by issues like affordable housing for all and police-community relations.
“Clearly, Gainey and that coalition were effective to say, and I think I’m quoting him when I say, Pittsburgh is not livable for everyone. And he’s made that a hallmark of his campaign,” said Kamara.
“There was a lot of anger in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests,” added Mikus. “There were a number of activists and people in the community who felt that Mayor Peduto sided with the police over the protesters. At the same time, the police were angry at the mayor.”
Gainey’s win in predominantly white areas like Lawrenceville and Bloomfield, some say, the election of Pittsburgh’s first black mayor wasn’t about race.
“He was able to cross over and attract a lot of white voters, so I don’t think race played much of an impact,” says Mikus.MORE NEWS: New Push In Pennsylvania Seeks To Give Frontline Workers A Boost In Hourly Pay
You can keep up with the election results with our primary election results tracker, which you can find here.