Pittsburgh voters on Tuesday chose state Rep. Ed Gainey (D) as the city’s 61st mayor — and the first Black man to lead the once-booming steel town that has grown more diverse in recent decades as the economy has diversified.
Gainey, 51, will succeed Mayor Bill Peduto, a fellow Democrat he defeated in the May primary.
The Associated Press projected Gainey would defeat Republican Tony Moreno, a retired police officer. Gainey led Moreno 71 percent to 29 percent.
Gainey has served five terms in the state legislature. He said he was moved to run after the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd, the Black Minneapolis man who died at the hands of a white police officer last year.
“I’ve always wanted to have a city that was inclusive of everybody, where everybody felt they could make it here, a city where no one felt left behind,” Gainey told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I was thinking this is the greatest time to build a bridge between yesterday and today, the greatest time to talk about why we need to be diverse, why we need to keep our real estate affordable and why we need to be safe.”
Gainey was one of a handful of Black mayoral candidates who ousted incumbent mayors in Democratic primaries in northeastern cities this year.
Moreno, a former Democrat who won the Republican nomination for mayor as a write-in candidate, did not stand much of a chance in a city that has not elected a Republican mayor since Charles Kline won reelection in 1929.