What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 16, 2007

Primary 2007

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.



Judge Rufus Peckham said...

Maria, the Mayor was crowing about how Democrats have proven they can balance the budget. As he was saying this, several members of the two state-appointed oversight boards had high-powered rifles pointed directly at his head.

Maria said...



Oh, man, I HATED his little speech. Aside from his smugly mentioning FOUR times that he had won in March, he went on about what hard work he had campaigning (a real Bush "It's hard work" moment). Yes, Luke. It's really hard work to plaster your face and name on every flat surface in town at the public's expense, steal every idea from your opponent and play and win "beat the clock" with debates.

What a maroon!

RRL said...

Luke looked like he was giving an acceptance speech for Treasurer of the 8th grade French Club.

You heard it here first - DeSantis by a nose in November.

Gloria said...

Something I haven't seen mentioned in any of the blogs/MSM - check out the (unendorsed) winners' campaign managers:

Arnet - Campaign Manager: Kathy Fine

Dowd - Campaign Manager: Abby Wilson

Kraus - Campaign Manager: Amber Steinmetz

That's right, all of them are women who worked on behalf of their candidates with heart & brains & incredible stamina. Pittsburgh progressives owe these women a debt of gratitude.

Just like most of W PA's candidates are men, most of their campaign managers are men. Wilson, Fine & Steinmetz are opening new frontiers for women on the local campaign front.

Ladies, thank you.

PghLesbian said...

Amusing to read the ACDC spinmistress chalk this up as a victory for endorsed candidates. LOL. That's almost as ballsy as Bodack stating he's opposed to gay marriage at a LGBT forum b/c he's Catholic.

Former City Councilman Bodack that is. :-)

Anonymous said...

Want to talk to the ACDC’s spinmistress herself? Here’s your chance:

Dianna Wentz, Allegheny County Dem Cmte’s spokesperson, will be subbing for Lynn Cullen.

Monday, May 21st from 9 AM to 10 AM on radio station WPTT – 1360 AM

Wentz will interview ACDC Chair Jim Burn and Executive Director Ian Harlow about all the changes and progress being made at the County Committee.

Call in (please do call in): 412.333.1360

Bram Reichbaum said...

Just a quick note to clarify that my assertion about the Peduto factor was in no way meant to diminish the overriding impact of the candidates own staffs -- campaign staffs that were largely in-place well before Peduto dropped out.

It was also very good of you to note that all three victorious council campaign managers were women -- I hadn't noticed that.

The Burgher said...

To piggy back on Bram's comment, I think the Pedutocrats support was necessary, but not sufficient.

A lot of dedicated progressives deserve credit for all the work they've done.

Anonymous said...

And we should add that Michael Lamb's campaign was headed by Doug Anderson, an African American . . . in Allegheny County , no less.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Well, if that's the way we're playing, Burgess's campaign manager is african-american in addition to being a woman. Now it's really party-time!