New faces for Pittsburgh City Council: Kraus, Dowd, Burgess
After all the grief back in March over the Peduto mayoral pullout, this morning looks a lot brighter for progressives than anyone had a right to expect.
Machine hacks (There is no machine!) Len Bodack and Jeff Koch were ousted by progressives Patrick Dowd and Bruce Kraus. As other blogs have noted, it was the Pedutoistas who really got behind both these candidates after they no longer had Bill to support. Additionally the much embattled Twanda Carlisle lost heavily to Rev. Ricky Burgess -- instantly lowering the embarrassment quotient on Council. (Now what about Motznik?!)
While County Chief Executive Dan Onorato won easily as expected, his challenger Rick Swartz made a really decent showing with 13.45% of the vote. Especially when you consider that latecomer Swartz ran his campaign on $5,000 vs. over a million collected for Onorato.
I spoke to Swartz Campaign Manager Joy Sabl last night and according to her figures, Rick received about 3 votes for every dollar spent and nearly half the flyers distributed resulted in a vote -- a really good grassroots effort. Rick also received loads of good coverage last night (much owing to PCNC waiting for Onorato and Ravenstahl to show up resulting in their relying on Rick's after party for visuals). Republican curmudgeon Bill Green was quite complimentary towards Rick's grassroots efforts. Likely because he recently ran himself and has discovered exactly how much "fun" it is to got out collecting petition signatures in the coldest month of the year. Most importantly, Onorato's victory speech contained not only a gracious nod to Swartz, but the recognition that voters really do care about public transit. That was a real victory not just for Swartz, but for the residents of Allegheny County.
We also saw a progressive win in the City Controller's race with Michael Lamb getting over 42% of the vote.
And Luke Ravenstahl? Yep, he won resoundingly. But for those of you who have been made to feel crazy by the "Give the kid a chance" contingent, it should be noted that you no longer need to feel like a lone voice in the wilderness. A full 14% of the voters chose not to "I Like Luke." In addition to the 4% who chose to write in someone, another 9% chose to leave their ballot blank for Mayor (38,665 voted citywide for Controller, but only 35,705 voted citywide for Mayor). Moreover, write-in Republican candidate Mark DeSantis received over three times the number of votes needed to get on the ballot in November so it looks like Luke will have to face a debate after all (hehehehe).
All in all, a nice night for those of us who believe that ACDC is the problem.
UPDATE: I want to make sure to note that while I mentioned Bram's assertion that the Peduto folks helped the Dowd and Kraus campaigns, from what I saw, both those camps had tight, really well run efforts and candidates who were on fire. Kudos to their campaigns!
On top of that, as Smitty has commented, Koch really disintegrated in the last two weeks with all his crazy shit. Also, both campaigns paid loads of attention to the Burghosphere which doesn't hurt.