Did Donald Trump encourage more candidates to run in Allegheny County’s primary?

We know people are more … enthusiastic.

Political signs outside of the Allegheny New Hope United Methodist Church on the North Side.

Political signs outside of the Allegheny New Hope United Methodist Church on the North Side.

Jasmine Goldband / The Incline
MJ Slaby

There’s one reason both Democrats and Republicans credit for the enthusiasm they are seeing. Well, one person actually: President Donald Trump.

“There was so much energy with the Trump campaign, and we’re still seeing a lot of that here,” said D. Raja, chairman of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County said ahead of last week’s primary.

That energy among Trump supporters continued well after the presidential election, Raja said. Trump brought both white collar and blue collar workers to the party: union workers voted Trump, but so did computer science professionals, he said.

Dj Ryan, executive director of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, said a lot of Democrats were upset after the November election, but their involvement picked up around Thanksgiving and peaked around the inauguration and Women’s March.

“We have seen an enormous influx,” he said of committee involvement and new political organizations, adding that it all points back to one thing: Donald Trump is president, and they are mad about it. Ryan said he wouldn’t be exaggerating to say involvement, in one way or another, has grown by 500 percent.

“It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before in the past ten to twelve years,” Raja agreed.

But does that enthusiasm = more candidates?

To find out, The Incline compared primary election results from the Allegheny County Elections website for 2013 to 2017.

First, we looked at the number of candidates — at the local, state and national levels — per party on the primary summary reports. This chart shows how many people were on Allegheny County ballots from 2013 to 2017.

Total primary candidates

But the chart above doesn’t consider the number of seats available in each primary. This is what the number of candidates per open seat (including local, state and national races) looks like from 2013 to 2017.

Candidates per open seat

Each year, of course, sees totally different races, so for the best comparison, look to 2013 and 2017. More candidates from both parties ran this year, but the number of candidates per seat is slightly lower than in 2013.