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Live Blog: Primary Day 2018

90.5 WESA

Check in throughout the day for 90.5 WESA's continuous coverage of the Primary Election. 


11:58 p.m.: Dom Costa concedes to Sara Innamorato. That's a wrap

The last major local race has been declared. Though Sara Innamorato declared victory much earlier in the night, incumbent five-term Democrat Dom Costa officially conceded the District 21 race after 11 p.m. Innamorato is the second first-time candidate to oust a long-time incumbent, following Summer Lee who beat Costa's cousin, Paul, tonight. 


11:31 p.m.: Voter turnout as expected


Ahead of the primary, one Allegheny County election official guessed voter turnout would be around 20 percent. He was close, just 18 percent of county voters made it to the polls today -- 13 percent Democrats and the other 5 percent Republican. 


11:02 p.m.: Just waiting on District 21

Sara Innamorato has declared victory in District 21, but Dom Costa has yet to concede. In the meantime, here are some of the races that have been called:


10:43 p.m.: Saccone loses again

Rick Saccone faced a second major loss Tuesday night, just two months after losing to Conor Lamb in the special election to replace Tim Murphy, losing the Republican nomination for the new District 14 to Guy Reschenthaler.


10:33 p.m.: Fetterman wins Democratic Lt. Gov. nomination

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman won the five-way Democratic race, making Mike Stack the first to hold the office and lose the primary, according to the AP. Fetterman delivered his acceptance speech before 10:30 p.m.


10:22 p.m.: Wagner wins GOP gubernatorial bid

Scott Wagner won the three-way race between former health care consultant Paul Mango and Pittsburgh lawyer Laura Ellsworth. He will take on Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in November.


9:58 p.m.: Summer Lee ousts longtime legislator Paul Costa

While Lee called it early, Costa conceded just before 9:45 p.m., meaning the first-time candidate will be the November ballot. Ahead of Tuesday night's results, one political professor said it could be indicative of Pittsburgh's readiness for new political leadership. 


9:50 p.m.: Barletta wins GOP nomination for U.S. Senate

The AP reports Lou Barletta nabbed the GOP U.S. Senate nomination. The four-term Republican was Trump's pick for Senate and will face Democrat Bob Casey who is seeking a third term.  


9:42 p.m.: Lee calls it, Costa has yet to concede

Summer Lee told supporters at her election night HQ that she won the 34th House District race, however Rep. Paul Costa has not conceded. She currently has a 35-point lead with nearly 87 percent of the vote in.


9:13 p.m.: Costa "getting killed"

Overheard at Paul Costa's HQ:

Summer Lee, unofficially, called it a tight race before polls closed. And preliminary numbers show her with a nearly 30-point lead.


9:06 p.m.: Early results

The results are starting to trickle in. Braddock Mayor John Fetterman has taken a healthy lead in the Democratic Lt. Governor's race. 


And statewide, Scott Wagner leads in the GOP governor's race. Although, Allegheny County numbers show Paul Mango leading. 


8:41 p.m.: No results, but parties underway

Republican gubernatorial candidate Laura Ellsworth has a sweet spread, while it's cheerful and chatty at her opponent Paul Mango's HQ and the brews are flowing at first-time candidate Sara Innamorato's (21st state House district) party. Here's a look at some of the Election Night shindigs:


8:09 p.m.: Polls are closed. Now we wait

The polls are officially closed. Until then, you can wait for updates on election results in Allegheny County races here -- and here for statewide races

Our reporters are out at various campaign headquarters too. Stay tuned for more. 



7:25 p.m.: Summer Lee calls a tight race

Summer Lee, the first-time candidate hoping to take the Democratic spot on the November ballot and incumbent Paul Costa's seat in the 34th state House district, called a tight race Tuesday evening, though no official numbers have been reported. 

Lee is part of a crop of first-time candidates who were able to raise close to as much money as their incumbent opponents. 


7:15 p.m.: Still time to vote

There's less than an hour left to vote, but you can still make it before the polls close at 8 p.m. Not sure where your polling place is? Just type in your address here.  

Credit Screenshot / Google Maps
Google Maps

6:29 p.m.: Police respond to a polling place Downtown

Allegheny County officials reported an incident just before 4 p.m. at polling place 2-1 outside the Roosevelt Arms apartments on Penn Avenue in Downtown.

County spokesperson Amie Downs:

A report was made by a Judge of Elections that two individuals, outside of the polling place, were involved in a verbal fight. As a result of that report, a call was made to Elections Court. Elections Court dispatched two deputy sheriffs to the location. When they arrived, the Pittsburgh Police were already on scene handling the report.

KDKA-TV aired an interview with a campaign worker it identified as Kyle Stewart, who was positioned outside Roosevelt Arms representing Democratic candidate Aerion Abney. Stewart told the station that he exchanged words with a member of Rep. Jake Wheatley's campaign team, and then encountered Wheatley (D-Allegheny) himself, who Stewart said "chest-bumped me into a vehicle repeatedly."

The vehicle was parked at the time, the station reported.

Wheatley did not respond immediately to a call or text message for comment. Abney, who previously worked in Wheatley's office, abandoned a run against Wheatley in 2016.

Pittsburgh police spokesperson Chris Togneri said the incident is under investigation.

Credit Niven Sabherwal / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
Officials gave out stickers at a polling place inside Lynn Williams' Apartments on Brighton Road in Pittsburgh's North Side.


6:02 p.m.: What really motivates someone to vote?

People respond to the hype of big campaigns like those during presidential elections, but there’s one thing that can improve turnout across the board – a powerful, invisible force that motivates a lot of human behavior – social pressure. 

University of Pittsburgh professor Victoria Shineman said that’s why things like the "I Voted" sticker matters. It not only reminds other people to vote, but gives voters personal recognition throughout the day.

There's just one catch: Allegheny County doesn't give them out. WESA's Virginia Alvino Young explored why during the primary contests in 2016.


5:25 p.m.: The first test of PA's new Congressional map 

WHYY reports both Republicans and Democrats expected some party members to show up to the polls on Tuesday and be surprised to learn that their congressional district has changed.

Still need to know where to vote? Look up your address here.


4:42 p.m.: Is the political landscape being redefined?

As Pennsylvanians go to the polls, one University of Pittsburgh political science professor says the implications are bigger than one day's results.

And Allegheny County spokesperson Amie Downs reports only a few "minor issues – machine taken out of service and replaced, overzealous poll watchers, etc. – but nothing of significance or that has been disruptive of the process."


3:39 p.m.: Turnout is light, even where the primary field is crowded

Millvale is part of two legislative districts being closely watched today, but after visiting three polling places, WESA's Chris Potter reports turnout is as sluggish as elsewhere in Allegheny County. Millvale Democratic Committee chair James Machajewski said he expects a bigger wave after dinner.


2:54 p.m.: Crunching the numbers

So voter turnout is slow, but what does that mean? It depends on the year.

Bar Chart


2:07 p.m.: At midday check-in, few issues are disrupting the polls

According to Allegheny County officials, very little unexpected activity has interfered with voting today. But just in case, a handful of organizations are providing resources to those who might encounter difficulties.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch until 8 p.m. for several counties in western Pennsylvania.

Some voters could be caught in the rain this afternoon and throughout the evening--the National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning and flash flood watch. — Katie Blackley (@kate_blackley) May 15, 2018


11:26 a.m.: GOP gubernatorial candidates check in at the ballot box.


The three candidates seeking the GOP nomination to run for governor of Pennsylvania all voted bright and early Tuesday. Pittsburgh businessman Paul Mango, York County Senator Scott Wagner and Pittsburgh lawyer Laura Ellsworth are all on the ballot against incumbent Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. Here’s how they compare on the issues and how they’re trying to distinguish themselves.


9:49 a.m.: When the alarm went off, voting was on the brain

A Google Trends check of how often the term "election" was searched in the past four hours shows most voters looked up ballot information in the 6 o'clock hour. The majority of the related queries are about congressional districts, polling places and specific candidates. 


Credit Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA

8:58 a.m.: Don't expect high voter turnout

Allegheny County election manager Mark Wolosik says he expects about 20 percent voter turnout from Republicans and Democrats for the primary today. For comparison, Allegheny County voter turnout for the March 13 special election between Rick Saccone and Conor Lamb was about 48 percent. The 2017 primary brought out about 17 percent of voters in Allegheny County. And while this isn't a presidential election, more like 80 to 90 percent of Pennsylvania voters have shown up for the last several presidential elections. 


7:50 a.m.: Election night Twitter -- who to follow

Several of 90.5 WESA's reporters will be in the trenches tonight at candidate parties. For all you election night junkies, here's a list of who to follow on Twitter and which races they'll be covering:

GOP Congressional District 14 candidates (Rick Saccone vs. Guy Reschenthaler)

Democratic State House District 34 candidates (Paul Costa vs. Summer Lee)

Democratic State House District 21 candidates (Dom Costa vs. Sara Innamorato)

GOP candidates for Governor (Laura Ellsworth vs. Paul Mango vs. Scott Wagner)

Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor  (Nina Ahmad vs.  Kathi Cozzone vs. John Fetterman vs. Mike Stack vs. Ray Sosa)


6:44 a.m.: And we're off 

Primary Day is here. Here's a quick breakdown as election day gets underway:

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Allegheny County. 

Check out where your polling place is by typing in your address here

You can also view your sample ballot online here

Here's a breakdown of what you need to know before you head to the polls. 

For info on local races, check out our previous coverage of the Democrats running in Congressional District 14, state house District 21, state house District 34 and the Lt. Governor's race; and the Republicans seeking the nomination to run for governor, as well as the candidates in Congressional District 14