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Pittsburgh mayoral candidates limit forum attendance

| Friday, May 3, 2013, 12:27 p.m.

The Democratic candidates for Pittsburgh mayor decided on Friday to scale back their appearances, citing an “overload” in the number of forums they have been asked to attend.

“The schedule was almost every night another forum, sometimes two times in one evening,” said Sonya Toler, campaign spokeswoman for City Councilman Bill Peduto. “It was just too much.”

Former state Auditor General Jack Wagner, state Rep. Jake Wheatley and community organizer A.J. Richardson are also running for the Democratic nomination in the May 21 primary.

The four candidates agreed to cut their forums to seven from about 14 or 15.

“We've done about 20 so far. We'll be doing seven more,” said Wagner campaign spokesman J.J. Abbott. “We think it's given people a lot of opportunities to see the candidate.”

Wagner and Peduto wanted to steer their appearances toward smaller, more intimate settings to meet voters, according to their campaigns.

“I understand they have a busy schedule, and I know they have been making a lot of appearances,” said Bernadette Turner, president of the African American Leadership Association, which had partnered with three other organizations to host a forum that did not make the cut. “In all fairness we had one earlier in the year, which they all attended.”

Toler said the candidates encourage organizations that had events canceled to partner with those remaining on the schedule:

• Press Club of Western PA/WPXI TV Mayoral Forum, 2 p.m. Monday. Closed to the public.

• WTAE Mayoral Debate, 7 p.m. Tuesday. Closed to the public.

• Design Center Mayoral Forum, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Point Park University, GRW Auditorium, 414 Wood St., Downtown.

• KDKA Radio Debate, 11 a.m. Thursday. Closed to the public.

• Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, State of Downtown Report and Candidates' Forum, 5 p.m. May 13, Harris Theater, 809 Liberty Ave., Downtown.

• WESA Candidates' Forum, 6:30 p.m. May 14, 67 Bedford Square, South Side.

• Community Empowerment Association Candidates' Forum, 6 p.m. May 15, 7120 Kelly St., Homewood.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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