PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Mayor Bill Peduto says he was caught in some strong political headwinds on primary election Day last Tuesday.
In his first interview since his loss to Pennsylvania Rep. Ed Gainey, Peduto talked to KDKA political editor Jon Delano.READ MORE: Redistricting Committees Named In West Virginia
Long before Peduto was mayor or even a city councilman, he was a political consultant, helping others to win office. So in many ways, he is well-positioned to diagnose what happened to him on election day.
“There are some very powerful headwinds politically right now, not just in Pittsburgh but all across our country,” says Peduto. “That was fueled by progressive voices and young voters, and they voted overwhelmingly for change.”
The irony, of course, is that Peduto himself was elected mayor as a young progressive unafraid to stand up to the establishment. But to a new generation, he is viewed as old and tired.
“In politics, everything does have a shelf life, and my time had come,” he says somewhat wistfully.
Peduto is proud of his liberal record and says he set the stage for this next generation of even more liberal leadership.
“We helped to blaze a path that would eventually lead to what will inevitably become the first Black mayor of the city of Pittsburgh,” the mayor says.READ MORE: Man Stopped In March For Stolen Scratch-Off Tickets Now Facing Additional Drug And Firearm Charges
Delano: “That sounds to me, mayor, like you’re taking credit for setting the foundation to elect Ed Gainey mayor?”
Peduto: “I don’t want to say anything close to that. There’s one person that deserves the credit, and that’s Representative Gainey. What I am saying is that a dozen years ago, a candidate like Ed Gainey would have had far less of a chance.”
Peduto does worry that politics is becoming much more polarized on both the left and the right, and in cities like Pittsburgh the far-left is ascending through grassroots organization and passionate young voices.
“If you look back at the protests of last year, it wasn’t the right that was being targeted by the protesters. It was the moderate left, and it was being targeted by the far left,” says Peduto.
He fears the Democratic Party will no longer be a “big tent” welcoming moderate voices.
As for his own legacy, he calls it a bridge, restoring the city’s finances, while putting Pittsburgh back on the global stage.
In short, he says, “To be able to take us from the one shore to the other, and to be able to set up a new administration and then lead us into what that next Pittsburgh will be.”MORE NEWS: Judge Asked To Order Arrest Of Witnesses In Triple Slaying Retrial Of Olympic Gymnast Simone Biles Brother
As for what is next for him, Peduto says he wants to take next year off, go to Antarctica, the Caribbean and then end up in Italy to do some writing and perhaps some teaching.