As I biked past the old nursing home, the residents flagged me down. “Hey Goggles, we know a secret.” Their platinum hair weaved stories from yesteryear, but more importantly, they had news about today. These elder women might not be a witches’ coven, but they speak truth. “The Democrats are trying to get Mayor Ed Gainey out of office.” My bike came to a full stop as I prayed I wouldn’t need to replace my brake pads immediately.

Over the past two weeks, pollsters have been calling residents, asking which Democratic alternative they’d vote for in the next mayoral election. The script is fairly standard, gauging citizen sentiment, until the final question: “Who would you vote for in a head-to-head with Ed Gainey?” The options are Bill Peduto’s former Chief of Staff Daniel Gilman, Allegheny County Controller Corey O’Connor, and State Representative Lindsay Powell.

The Gainey no-confidence vote has to originate from somewhere. Naturally, I turned to sources at local dive bars to find out more.

Devilish politicos and real estate moguls explained that the Gainey administration has been absentee. My sources said that after hosting meaningful events and massive fundraisers for the 2021 mayoral election, they were “left on read” once Ed Gainey took office. The general sentiment behind the scenes is that Gainey “bent the knee” to the SEIU, discarding local input. Some love it, as the cat is away. Others hate it, as the mice are at play.

At the time of publication, neither the Allegheny County Democratic Committee nor the PA Democratic Party has claimed credit for the polling.

Democratic heavyweights, preferring to stay anonymous, explained the polling’s cause and results. There is a full-blown rebellion inside the Democratic Party to oust Mayor Ed Gainey. The causes range from perceived ineptitude to favoring national over local interests. They clarified that this is specifically a Gainey issue and does not affect other progressives like Sara Innamorato and Summer Lee.

According to these insiders, current polls show that Lindsay Powell has the best chance of defeating Ed Gainey in the next election. O’Connor trailed behind her, with Gilman coming in dead last.

According to Republicans, Gainey’s policing policies have become “The Pittsburgh Purge.” Police have redirected reports to call centers, non-violent crimes go unreported, and at night, barely a dozen officers patrol a city of 300,000. Real estate moguls have nicknamed the salary to hire extra security guards the “Gainey Tax.”

With no direct connection to the administration, it’s easy to see how community groups and politicos are abandoning the Gainey cause. When it comes to money flow, having to spend millions on security guards because the police have been told to stand back and stand by is frustrating to that one percent we all hate or dream about becoming.

Ultimately, beyond the headlines, Lindsay Powell has found herself in a position of power within the Democratic Party. Whether she decides to run against Gainey or not, her influence is unmistakably growing with the results of the polling.

Foo, editor of The Pittsburgh Reporter, guides our newsrooms and meets neighbors. He shares heartfelt stories often overlooked.