by Chris Potter
Chris Briem does this stuff better, of course, but as I get some free time in the next day or so, I'll try to post some breakdowns of the ward-by-ward totals here and try to make sense of yesterday's primary.
First, a look at City Council District 4, and specifically two important wards within it.
The first ward we'll look at is the sprawling 19th. This is where Pete Wagner holds sway ... and much of this race has really been a battle for Wagner's heart. Wagner threw off his previous support of Anthony Coghill -- part of a broader political feud -- and supported Patrick Reilly, who works in the office of Wagner's daughter, state Rep. Chelsa Wagner. (To add a further element of intrigue, primary winner Natalia Rudiak is a friend of the younger Wagner's, though Rep. Wagner stayed neutral in this race.)
So who won the 19th? By my admittedly sleep-deprived count, it was Coghill, who took 1,363 votes in the ward. Reilly came in a close second with just over 1,200. Rudiak came in a more distant third with just under 950. (A fourth candidate, Richard Weaver, isn't included here because he garnered too few votes to make an impact.)
None of this is surprising, Coghill is a Beechview kid from way back, which apparently carries weight roughly equal to the mass that Wagner can throw around. But between them, Coghill and Reilly split the 19th ward, which both of them needed to carry the district as a whole.
That brings us to Ward 29, which is centered on the often-overlooked neighborhood of Carrick. This is Rudiak's homebase, and it is to district 4 what district 4 is to the rest of Pittsburgh: a place where people resent being overlooked in favor of more connected neighborhoods elsewhere.
And in Carrick, Rudiak trounced her rivals. She took 821 votes by my fatigued reckoning. Neither Reilly (who won 335 votes) nor Coghill (249) were ever competitive here.
Bear in mind that Rudiak won this race by just under 200 votes: She beat Reilly 2282 to 2088, and Coghill was a close third with 1940. You have to assume that if Coghill had Pete Wagner's support, he'd have gotten the vast majority of Reilly's votes in Ward 19. That would have made him unbeatable. And vice versa: If Reilly hadn't needed to compete with a Beechview kid for Ward 19s affections, it's hard to see how he could have lost.
This was, in fact, exactly how some of Rudiak's advisors predicted the race would play out. Rudiak needed Reilly and Coghill in the race to win ... and they have each other to thank for the fact that she did so.
But I'm guessing that instead of thanks, there's REALLY going to be some bad feelings in the 19th ward this morning.