Last week’s Pittsburgh news, today #13: enormous man elected senator

For people who might not read the news every day, but would still like to know what's going on.


Note: In solidarity with striking Newsguild workers, Pittsburgh Independent will not share or link to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Follow striking workers’ news coverage at the Pittsburgh Union Progress.

The votes are (mostly) in. Control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives rests on the outcome of a pair of still too-close-to-call races in the Philadelphia suburbs. Democrats have picked up 11 seats so far. The Inquirer gives three main reasons for Democratic gains in PA: redistricting; far-right Republican candidate Doug Mastriano’s impact on down-ballot races, and fears of further abortion restrictions. (According to Stateline, 36% of PA voters said abortion was their top issue, compared with 29% who said it was inflation.)

Mastriano concedes. He lost by nearly 15 points, the largest gubernatorial defeat in an open race since the 1940s, but it took until Sunday evening for Republican Doug Mastriano to concede the governor’s race to his Democratic opponent, Josh Shapiro. RELATED: Did Shapiro’s overwhelming victory prevent Mastriano and allies from attempting to subvert election results? Buried within Spotlight PA’s reporting on Mastriano: “There was talk among lawmakers, legislative staff, and lobbyists on the eve of the election of an obscure constitutional measure that allows the General Assembly to review a gubernatorial election, according to sources familiar with the strategy.

Enormous man elected senator. Former Braddock Mayor John Fetterman defeated tv’s Dr. Oz to win outgoing Republican Senator Pat Toomey’s seat, helping Democrats secure a slim majority in the US Senate. Fetterman won handily in the state’s big urban centers, outraging those who don’t quite understand how population density works. Some see Fetterman’s campaign as “a blueprint” for other Democratic candidates looking to woo white voters moving forward.

Here are some other election day firsts:

  • Summer Lee defeated off-brand Mike Doyle to become the first Black woman elected to Congress from PA. The Mon Valley native fended off a late, million-dollar out of town ad buy against her. Said Lee at her election night victory party: “This was a movement that was about what it looks like when we prioritize the most marginalized and really fight for what a real working-class movement can look like in this country.”
  • McKeesport’s Austin Davis became PA’s first Black lieutenant governor, reports ABC27.
  • Dr. Arvind Venkat, of McCandless, became the first Indian American elected to the PA House, reports WESA.
  • Tony Norman interviews La’Tasha Mayes, who ran unopposed in District 24 and became the first openly gay Black woman in PA’s House.
  • Barb Warwick overcame the political machine to become the first person from Greenfield in decades to represent District 3 in Pittsburgh City Council. As WESA notes: “For a generation, the district has been represented by someone from Squirrel Hill — either O’Connor or his late father, Bob, or the elder O’Connor’s one-time aide, Doug Shields.”

PG Strike Continues. Block Communications cut health insurance for striking Newsguild workers, reports the Union Progress. Kim Lyons reports on the striking journalists for the Penn Capital-Star, and details politicians and other supporters who have refused to cross the picket line. RELATED: Workers have started a new campaign, “Our Money vs. Their Mouths,” urging PG subscribers to cancel their subscriptions to increase pressure on Block Communications, with whom the guild negotiated Monday and Tuesday. The two sides meet again Thursday. The Newsguild is hosting a protest this Saturday outside the Duquesne Club, site of Post-Gazette publisher John R. Block’s wedding.

Everything else.