The Lead

Costa aide tapped as Democratic candidate for Ed Gainey’s House seat in special election

By: - February 7, 2022 10:54 am

Pa. House candidate Martell Covington (Pittsburgh City Paper photo)

By Lisa Cunningham

PITTSBURGH —  The Allegheny County Democratic Committee has selected Martell Covington as the candidate who will appear on the ballot for the April 5 special election for Mayor Ed Gainey’s former 24th House District seat.

Covington, a legislative aide to state Sen. Jay Costa, who currently represents some of the 24th District, and the vice president of the Young Democrats of Allegheny County, will appear as the Democrat on the ballot to serve out the remainder of the term left vacant when Gainey became Mayor of Pittsburgh. The seaat District 24 currently includes Wilkinsburg and Eastern Pittsburgh neighborhoods, including Homewood, Highland Park, Garfield, and East Liberty.

“I’m very grateful to have received the Democratic nomination,” Convington told Pittsburgh City Paper in a written statement. “I want to thank my family and my team for all the love and support. This is only one step for us and we’re ready to continue the work.”

According to WESA-FM, Covington received 40 of the 101 votes cast by committee members on Feb. 5 at the Kingsley Center in East Liberty.

La’Tasha D. Mayes, president and CEO of New Voices for Reproductive Justice, came in second with 24 votes. Other candidates who paid the $1,000 filing fee to compete for the nomination were Randall Taylor, former school board member and an advocate for affordable housing; NaTisha Washington, environmental justice organizer for OnePA; Lamar Blackwell, head of Pittsburgh’s office of the nonprofit Center for Employment Opportunities; and Will Anderson, owner of a Homewood auto body shop and a longtime activist.

Five of the six candidates participated in a candidates’ forum on Jan. 31 ahead of the committee’s vote where Covington talked about being born and raised in the Homewood area.

“I went from being one of those children of the after-school program to managing and coordinating the after-school program,” he said during the forum.

Because the seat left open by Gainey only continues through the end of this year, candidates interested in running for the next term will need to run in this year’s primary election. According to TribLive, five of the six candidates, including Covington, plan on running. However, because of new redistricting maps, Washington, who lives in Wilkinsburg, will now be disqualified as Wilkinsburg is no longer in the new 24th District.

Lisa Cunningham is the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper, where this story first appeared

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