Allegheny County executive race a generational decision between Innamorato, Rockey

Sara Innamorato aims to continue a rapid rise through local politics and cement progressives’ grip on local power. Joe Rockey wants to be the first Republican in charge of county government in 20 years.

By: - October 27, 2023 6:00 am

Sara Innamorato and Joe Rockey in the Allegheny County Executive debate (Screenshot/KDKA)

Sara Innamorato and Joe Rockey grew up during starkly different eras for the Pittsburgh region, a fact that shows in their visions as they compete in the hottest race for Allegheny County executive in decades.

Rockey, 59 and the Republican nominee, was born well before the collapse of the steel industry and witnessed it firsthand as he grew up in the North Side. Now an Ohio Township resident, his campaign is focused heavily on jobs and his pledge to visit companies nationwide to try to get them to bring employment to the region.

Innamorato, 37, the Democrat, was born around the time steel faltered, and entered adulthood as the ‘eds and meds’ boom took off. She moved into burgeoning Lawrenceville in the 2010s and is part of a relatively new political class that does not view the region primarily through the lens of its industrial past. Her campaign is more focused on social services, addressing inequities and housing.

What started as a seven-candidate free-for-all in the spring is coming to an end. Allegheny County will elect a new county executive, its first since 2011, when voters choose between Innamorato and Rockey on Nov. 7. Continue reading.

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Charlie Wolfson
Charlie Wolfson

Charlie Wolfson is an enterprise reporter for PublicSource, focusing on local government accountability in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. He is also a Report for America corps member. Charlie aims to focus stories on how they impact residents rather than on party politics. Previously, Charlie worked at the Boston Globe, first as a student co-op and then as a sports and metro correspondent. Prior to joining PublicSource as a full-time reporter, he covered issues surrounding election law and voting access throughout the 2020 election cycle as a freelance reporter for PublicSource. He graduated in 2020 with a degree in journalism and political science from Northeastern University