Bobby Wilson of Spring Hill won the Democratic primary election on May 21 and is one step closer to a seat on City Council.

By Amanda Andrews

Photo by Ashlee Green

The results are in. Spring Hill resident Bobby Wilson won the Democratic bid for the District 1 City Council seat by a clear majority in the primary election.

“It was great to see the support wasn’t just in one place, it was all across District 1,” Wilson told The Northside Chronicle. “It shows that the entire District 1 was ready for that change.”

Wilson was one of three Democrats running for the Democratic ticket. Incumbent Darlene Harris and challenger Mark Brentley Sr. were the other two. Harris has held the seat since 2006. Wilson previously campaigned three consecutive times against Harris unsuccessfully.

Wilson received 2,522 votes, equaling roughly 56% of the vote. Harris finished second with 32% and Berkley Sr. in third place with 10%.

On election day, Harris still had a loyal, vocal base. Observatory Hill resident Laura Fox was clear about her support for Harris at the polls.

“I love Darlene Harris, so I’m voting for her,” Fox said. Fox elaborated that she believed Harris was effective at addressing Northside residents’ needs.

“Our roads, our safety, the community: She’s about all of that,” said Fox.

Campaign yard signs fill the lawn in front of the Riverview United Presbyterian Church polling place in Observatory Hill. Photo by Amanda Andrews

Wilson had his own supporters in the neighborhood of Observatory Hill. Caitlin Werthy said she thought Mayor Peduto’s endorsement of Wilson as a candidate earlier this year was “good.” Werthy is also an avid participant in the voting process as a principle.

“I’ve voted since I was of voting age,” Werthy said. “I think it’s important if we want to see change in our neighborhoods.”

Another Observatory Hill homeowner, Valerie Drowell, said she personally thought candidates only come around to residents when it is election season.

“I’m questionable about all of the candidates. I live right across the street [from my local polling place]. Things need to change,” Drowell said.

Wilson’s 2019 campaign was characterized by active social media use, participation in candidate forums as well as online Q&As and canvassing by volunteers knocking on doors, urging residents to vote for Wilson in the primary election. There was considerable volunteer work from the Service Employees International Union 32BJ (SEIU 32BJ).

“We worked really hard to have a big ground game on election day,” Wilson said.
On his campaign Facebook page, Wilson made a post on May 23 thanking the volunteers who had contributed to his campaign:

“Volunteer spotlight: all of you, Northside. Thank you everyone for all of your hard work and time,” Wilson wrote. “This win was a team effort. Together, we knocked on every door in the district, we called every person, and you shared my posts far and wide. Without your help, this would not have been possible. Thank you for your support.”

Harris conceded to Wilson before 9:30 p.m. on the night of the election. According to the Allegheny County Election Office’s unofficial report, 65 voters did a write-in candidate for a Republican bid for the District 1 City Council seat. Even if all 65 votes were for a singular candidate, it would not be enough to qualify for a nomination.

Wilson still faces potential challenges from Chris Rosselot and Quincy Kofi Swatson, both of whom have claimed that they will run as independents in November’s general election.
Click here for full primary election results.

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