What Are The Challenges Ahead For The Progressive Victors of Tuesday’s Primary?
A number of new faces will be taking the reins of power in Allegheny County.
Change is in the air.
Pennsylvania Rep. Sara Innamorato finished first among a six-candidate field to win the Democratic nomination for Allegheny County Executive, capturing 38% of the vote. She will face Republican Joe Rockey, who ran unopposed for the GOP nomination.
“When I launched this campaign, I said I was running because I wanted to build a county for us all,” she said Tuesday night to a crowd of supporters at Trace Brewery in Bloomfield. “And the county executive will chart the direction for the next generation.”
Innamorato is among several progressives to win nominations Tuesday. Allegheny County’s Chief Public Defender, Matt Dugan, defeated longtime District Stephen A. Zappala Jr., and Incumbent Bethany Hallam won re-election over former Pittsburgh mayoral aide Joanna Doven in the race for Allegheny County Council’s Democratic at-large seat.
Two of Innamorato’s biggest allies are fellow progressives, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and Congresswoman Summer Lee, both elected within the last two years.
On the outside looking in will be John Weinstein, who chose not to run for re-election for county treasurer in his bid to become county executive, and Pittsburgh controller Michael Lamb.
Outgoing County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who endorsed Lamb to succeed him, acknowledged that the Progressive wing of the party has momentum.
“So it’s been seven years in a row of the far-left winning Democratic primaries in Allegheny County. It looks like we’re going to become similar to places like San Francisco or Seattle or Portland with a far-left agenda of our elected officials,” he told WESA. “You see [the] far-left winning things … people who want to shut down fossil fuels, people who want to defund the police and people who kind of don’t want to deal with the homeless situation.
“Those folks were running, and they won tonight,” he added. “You’ve got to congratulate them, and we’ll move forward.”
Facing the next county executive is a number of significant challenges that include a growing trend of people moving out of the county, the shortage of affordable housing, a festering dispute over property reassessments, lingering problems at the Allegheny County Jail and working with the Gainey administration to address chronic homelessness, crime and vacant office space Downtown.