Ed Gainey, Pittsburgh Democratic Chair and a development specialist in Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s office, has announced he will once again challenge state Rep. Joe Preston for the 24th legislative district House seat he has held since 1983.
“The third time will be the charm,” he said.
Gainey, 41, of Lincoln-Lemington, lost to Preston in the 2006 Democratic primary election by just 94 votes, a race in which third-place candidate, body shop owner William Anderson, took 516 votes. Though he denied it, at the time, some charged Anderson was put into the race by Preston backers to split the anti-incumbent vote.
Preston, 64, said he prevailed largely due to the personal backing and involvement of then Gov. Ed Rendell that made the difference, especially since Gainey had won the party endorsement that year.
That level of support will obviously not be there for Preston this time with Republican Tom Corbett now the governor.
“This time he doesn’t have that, and this time I’m better known in the community,” Gainey told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “I’ve been all over the district asking people what Joe has done in the last six years, and the answer is always the same—nothing at all.”
Gainey, a one-time aide to Preston, first ran against his former boss in 2004. He then served as a neighborhood development assistant in Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy’s office before challenging Preston again in 2006. Though he did not say when, Gainey said he would be stepping down from his current position in the mayor’s office as required by state election law.
“It’s time for new leadership that supports the needs of the district. The only thing Joe has done is support legislation allowing utility companies to turn off your heat in the dead of winter,” said Gainey. “That’s not in the best interest of the community.”
Gainey said he plans to seek the Democratic Party Endorsement. That vote is scheduled for Feb. 12 at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union hall on the South Side. This year’s Primary Election is scheduled for April 24.
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