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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Election 2017

Three of four Pittsburgh City Council seats are uncontested this primary. How common is that?

Answer: It depends on the seat.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline
Sarah Anne Hughes

Three Pittsburgh City Council members will defend their seats May 16. It won’t be a tough battle.

Theresa Kail-Smith in District 2, Daniel Lavelle in District 6 and Dan Gilman in District 8 are uncontested in the primary, while incumbent Natalia Rudiak chose not run for reelection. Rudiak’s current chief of staff, Ashleigh Deemer, and ward chair Anthony Coghill are locked in a close battle for the District 4 seat.

How common is it to have several incumbents unchallenged in a primary?

It depends on the year and the race.

The Pittsburgh mayoral race has consistently been competitive in the primary since 2001, with one notable exception: Luke Ravensthal was unopposed in a 2007 special election held after the death Mayor Bob O’Connor. Now-Mayor Bill Peduto considered challenging him, but ultimately did not. Peduto now finds himself battling two challengers.

City Council races are a little different. Members go up for reelection every four years, depending on their district. Seats in districts 2, 4, 6 and 8 are up this year; districts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 will have elections in 2019.

So how competitive have these races been? The below pictograph shows how many Democrats ran for each city council seat in elections since 1999.