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Politics & Government

Rematch in Store for East End House District

In the East End, one Pittsburgh Democrat is making another primary run against a political veteran who's held his state House office for more than 18 years.

Pittsburgh Democratic Committee Chair Ed Gainey will take on incumbent Representative Joseph Preston, Jr. in the April 24 primary election this year. They'll do battle over the 24th District, which comprises East Liberty, Highland Park, Homewood, Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar and other neighborhoods.

Preston staved off an upset bid by Gainey in the 2006 primary election, retaining his House seat by a margin of just 92 votes.

Gainey, also a community development specialist in the mayor's office, described Preston as distant and disconnected from his House District.

"We don't need an absentee state representative," said Gainey. "We need one that's on the ground, one who's leading, forging relationships, making sure that the community is moving in the right direction."

41-year-old Gainey, the younger man in the race, characterized himself as more energetic and connected than Preston. Gainey said he would work to reduce crime, if elected.

"Partnerships with the police department [are] extremely important," said Gainey. "Partnering with the mayor's office is important. We need to make sure that we've got the right partnerships in place so that we can talk about issues and talk about areas of our community that we feel need to be better policed."

Gainey said he'd also work directly with small businesses in order to boost the local economy.