GOP picks new Monroeville mayoral candidate
By Kyle Lawson
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The Monroeville Republican Committee last week picked a mayoral candidate to represent the party in the upcoming general election.
John Ritter, 59, will challenge Democratic incumbent Greg Erosenko. Monroeville Councilman Bernhard Erb won the Republican nomination in the May primary but then withdrew his name from the ballot in June amid political turmoil in Monroeville. Erb withdrew, he said, because a race with Erosenko would only “exacerbate existing pain” in Monroeville.
Chad Stubenbort, who was appointed chairman of the Republican committee after the primary election, said his first major task as chairman was to find a mayoral candidate.
“I don't think it's right for us to go in to an election and not have a choice,” said Stubenbort, who is on the ballot for a Gateway School Board seat.
Ritter works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. He creates electronic health-information technology standards that promote the interoperability of electronic health-record systems, he said. Ritter has no political experience but has been a member of the Republican committee for about three years, he said.
Ritter said that if elected, he would use his “real-world, small-business skills” to help council reduce the town's “massive” deficit.
“We can (reduce the deficit) by setting priorities focused on people, not politics,” Ritter said.
Erosenko said he agrees.
“That's why I'm looking forward to a new council coming on, to make our neighborhood better, to get our business district back and get our revenues up,” Erosenko said.
Stubenbort said he foresees an uphill battle for Ritter.
“The committee knows this is going to be an extremely tough race based on the primary numbers,” Stubenbort said. “Greg obviously has a great support system behind him.”
Erosenko, 60, has served as mayor for five years. He served for 10 years as a member of the Monroeville Zoning Board and four years on Gateway School Board. A 15-year member of the Monroeville Democratic Party, he is the director of operations for the Forza Group in Bridgeville.
Erosenko has been accused in recent months by political opponents of bullying female officials and failing to maintain order in council chambers. He has said the allegations are false.
Taxpayers and business owners have expressed frustration in recent months amid accusations made at council meetings of unethical and potentially illegal behavior, a series of personnel moves and heated exchanges among and between officials and residents. Two political factions formed pitting Erb and Erosenko against each other prior to the May primary. Two of Erb's allies on council lost in the primary, and a third had exceeded his term limit and was unable to run.
Stubenbort said the party is happy to give voters an option in the election.
“They're two great individuals,” he said. “I really just feel that Monroeville needs a choice again.”
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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