Lou's List

Somewhat informed observations on politics and life from a wayward journalist.

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Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, June 07, 2007

(Belated) Primary roundup, Part 2: No County Shakeup

While the political waters were roiled in the City of Pittsburgh, things were quiet at the county level as the primary results rolled in.

County Executive Dan Onorato cruised to victory over longshot challenger Rick Swartz, who failed to meet even the most tempered expectations in the Dem contest. And while GOP County Councilman Matt Drozd of Ross launched a late write-in drive on behalf of his son--recent college grad Matt, Jr.--he acknowledged almost immediately after the polls closed that it had failed, making November look like even more of a walk for the incumbent than May had been.

Acting Sheriff Bill Mullen* won a majority in the three man race to fill the vacancy in that post. He will face Republican former County Councilman Ed Kress in November.

Democratic machine efforts to install a County Council less inclined toward reform fell flat, with two incumbents who had been defeated for the party endorsement easily retaining their seats. Councilwoman Brenda Frazier* of Stanton Heights bested machine stalwart Matt Arena of Morningside by almost 2,000 votes, while Councilwoman Joan Cleary of Brentwood dispatched endorsed challenger John Palmiere of Baldwin Twp. by a margin of more than 1,000. Councilman Bob Macey of West Mifflin also retained his seat, winning a majority against two established challengers.

Longtime establishment hanger-on Jim Ellenbogen of Banksville managed to carry his party endorsement to victory, defeating Councilman Bill Lestitian of Brookline, who had served by appointment since December. Council has already begun taking steps to repeal its ordinance banning public employees from serving on the body, a thinly veiled effort to thwart Ellenbogen's candidacy.

Three general election Council contests were set up. The matchup between GOP incumbent Councilman Vince Gastgeb of Bethel Park and Democratic Mt. Lebanon Commissioner Barbara Logan is sure to be a barnburner. In addition, GOP Councilwoman Susan Caldwell of Plum will face Democratic restaurateur and Verona Councilman Nick Futules, and Cleary will face Republican insurance agent Don Lacek of Castle Shannon.

*- winning candidate endorsed by PA League of Young Voters PAC.

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