Pittsburgh mayor's race is now starting to take shape
By Bob Bauder
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Next year's race for mayor of Pittsburgh started sizzling in recent days as Councilman Bill Peduto blanketed voters with campaign mailings, Controller Michael Lamb announced his candidacy and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl secured support from two major labor unions.
Peduto said he mailed 25,000 fliers to registered Democrats in the city, plus email, Twitter and Facebook postings that reached another 25,000 people, all of which sought monetary and volunteer support for his campaign.
Lamb, in response, said on Monday he will run in the May primary, a move analysts said might split the anti-incumbent vote.
“It will weaken Peduto's chances and strengthen Ravenstahl's,” said Moe Coleman, director emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics. Coleman said Ravenstahl's chance would improve greatly if Auditor General Jack Wagner, 64, of Beechview runs. Wagner's last term as auditor ends in December, and he said he is seriously considering a mayoral campaign.
Meanwhile, Ravenstahl, 32, of Summer Hill continued collecting support from organized labor with endorsements from two politically prominent unions, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 5 and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66. The city firefighters union, a powerful force in politics, endorsed Ravenstahl earlier.
“The mayor's always been there for us, the way we see it, and the city's going through a great round of development in the Downtown region as well as in the neighborhoods, and a lot of that provides opportunities for operating engineers and their families,” said James Kunz Jr., the Local 66 business manager. “Primarily for that reason, we don't see a reason that we should be changing mayors.”
Lamb, 50, of Mt. Washington said he has a $500-per-person fundraiser planned Dec. 12 for the Engineers Club, Downtown.
“I have every intention of running, and I'll be publicly announcing that very soon,” he said. “We've been raising money. We're putting a team together, staff and hiring professionals.”
Steelers President Art Rooney II and labor leaders held a fundraiser on Nov. 15 for Ravenstahl that cost up to $1,000 per person, said Michael Dunleavy, business manager and financial secretary for IBEW Local 5, who helped organize the event. Ravenstahl estimated the event raised at least $50,000.
“Mayor Ravenstahl looks forward to the opportunity to tell Pittsburgh's story — how far we have come since he has been mayor and his plans to build on our success,” campaign spokeswoman Dietrich Kelly said in an email.
Peduto, 48, of Point Breeze said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is hosting a fundraiser for him on Dec. 13. Fitzgerald, who pledged $4,000 to the Peduto campaign in September, did not return a phone call.
Peduto said his weekend mailings were designed to generate support before his official announcement in December. He declined to disclose when that might happen, but last year he said he would make the announcement during his annual holiday party in the East End, which is scheduled for Dec. 13.
“We're asking for the people's support now,” he said. “We're asking for the institutional support now. We're building a (campaign) that will have the strongest foundation, because that's the only way you defeat an incumbent.”
Gerald Shuster, professor of political communication at Pitt, said the response to Peduto's mailings will indicate how much support he has.
“It says, ‘I am a formal candidate, and I need your support, and I need your support in terms of time and effort, as well as dollars,'” Shuster said. “If he has any chance of being a formidable opponent, he's got to have a good organization behind him in order to run a formidable campaign.”
Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Indictment alleges scheme defrauded government of $10 million
- Maatta not a top rookie finalist
- Penguins insider: Malkin found confidence in Game 3
- Switch in pairings helps Penguins defensemen find groove in Game 3
- Highmark’s insurance profit falls 40%
- ‘Save Chatham’ protesters ordered to leave Shadyside campus
- Alaska’s Iditarod Trail challenges Unity couple
- Kovacevic: No science to solving power play
- Heyl: Even crooks know UPMC’s full of it
- Husband to stand trial in Derry middle school teacher’s murder
- Pirates notebook: MLB metes out suspensions