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Former auditor general, Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Wagner considers run for governor

| Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, 11:59 p.m.

HARRISBURG — Former Auditor General Jack Wagner, defeated in the Democratic primary for Pittsburgh mayor, said on Monday he will decide by year's end whether to run for governor.

Elected twice statewide as fiscal watchdog, Wagner would be the first Western Pennsylvanian to join a field of eight announced Democratic challengers. Two leading candidates, Treasurer Rob McCord and U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, live in Philadelphia suburbs.

“Coming off a loss in the commonwealth's second-largest city would make it tough” for Wagner of Beechview, said Joseph DiSarro, a political science professor at Washington & Jefferson College.

Wagner has had difficulty raising campaign money to stay competitive with other candidates, and his loss in the mayoral race might make that even tougher, DiSarro said.

Mayor-elect Bill Peduto, a city councilman, won almost 52 percent of the vote to Wagner's 39.6 percent. Two others and write-ins got the remainder.

Yet Wagner is “widely respected, and he comes from a top political family,” DiSarro said.

The Democratic nominee will take on Republican Gov. Tom Corbett of Shaler. A Franklin & Marshall College poll recently found only one in five registered voters believes Corbett deserves a second term.

In a visit to the Capitol on Monday, Wagner blasted inaction by Corbett and the Republican-controlled Legislature on a transportation funding bill. He said Corbett kicked off his campaign last week by talking about promises he has kept and should keep one on road and bridge repair.

Corbett this year proposed spending $1.8 billion on roads, bridges and public transit. A Senate-passed bill would raise $2.5 billion. The bill stalled when critics balked at its funding mechanism, lifting the cap on the state's wholesale fuel tax.

Corbett's campaign mana­ger, Mike Barley, said Corbett made no campaign promise on transportation but sought legislation because of the need.

“No one has done more to advance this legislation than Gov. Corbett,” Barley said.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or bbumsted@tribweb.com.

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