The most intriguing race in the city of Pittsburgh today (all due respect to the South Hills special) is the primary between old foes Joe Preston and Ed Gainey in the heavily African-American and Democratic 24th District in the city's east and Wilkinsburg.
Preston is a 3-decade state House incumbent from Homewood and Gainey the Democratic committee's Pittsburgh chair and a former aide to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl from Lincoln-Lemington, who lost his previous challenge of Preston by less than 100 votes. It's also a bit of a referendum on Ravenstahl, who'll face reelection a year from now. Despite his time in the mayor's office, Gainey hired the campaign manager for mayoral critics and council members Bill Peduto and Natalia Rudiak, Matt Merriman Preston (no relation to Joe). Joe Preston meanwhile is getting help from supporters of Ricky Burgess, council's finance chair and probably Ravensthal's biggest ally on city council.
Like everybody, Matt Preston reported light turnout in the district today but said "we have enthusiastic voters and we've seen them turn out." He reported some "curiously timed" street repaving and road closures around Lincoln Avenue in Gainey's neighborhood, making it tricky to get out some of his best supporters. (Lincoln is on the city's official list for planned street upgrades though.)
Joe Preston's campaign manager Jeff Thomas turned the mayoral stuff on its head, saying Gainey's ties to the mayor could have kept streets clear. Gainey's "the one touting himself as having ties to the mayor's office. You can't have it both ways," he said.
Thomas too said turnout today has been "very, very, very low."
Photo: Ed Gainey campaigns. Karen Langley/PG