Not your father's campaign for Pittsburgh mayor
“Making History” is the opening headline in the latest email blast from Pittsburgh councilman and mayoral challenger Bill Peduto. The piece explains that while it is tough to beat an incumbent, Peduto's “record-breaking amount of support,” “the largest announcement for mayor” and the “largest volunteer army” can help do the trick.
Earlier in the month, incumbent Luke Ravenstahl emailed the latest installment of “Pittsburgh City News,” touting Downtown holiday festivities, the new soccer field and skating rink combo at Station Square and the most recent national accolades about Pittsburgh.
Political media consultants come armed with Internet tactics these days — in addition to the old standbys of television and radio — meaning that this will not be your father's campaign for mayor. The one lesson learned from the last two presidential races is that social media can create a more level playing field.
Ravenstahl still appears to have some perks of incumbency; his newsletter comes from the “Office of the Mayor,” paid for by the taxpayers. Peduto's ends with “Paid for by People for Peduto,” his campaign committee. Both candidates and City Controller Michael Lamb, who also is in the chase, use Twitter as well, making you wonder if future elections will be decided by tweeters.
These new campaign devices have their pitfalls. A satiric Twitter account has appeared for “Lou Kravenstahl,” including the incumbent mayor's photo and pithless sayings like “I run the City of Pittsburgh. And yinz don't.” The site is even a nonpartisan basher.
Campaign fundraising also is different this election cycle. Contributions are limited to $2,000 per person for the primary election and $4,000 per political action committee. The incumbent has a chunk in reserve from the days before the new limits. But vendors and consultants with a stake in the administration can no longer protect their business interests with a big check.
And then there is the rare prospect of yet another contest in the general election, with a candidate skipping the primary for a November run as an independent. The word on Grant Street is that State Auditor General Jack Wagner might keep this option open — unless he is pressed into a gubernatorial redux.
And Republican tech entrepreneur Mark DeSantis, who performed impressively against Ravenstahl in 2007, might be swayed by the anti-Ravenstahls to position himself for a November race in case Ravenstahl wins the primary. DeSantis only lost to Ravenstahl 2-to-1 against the Democrats' registration edge of 5-to-1.
Since Mayor Dick Caliguiri won as an independent in the 1977 general election, the law has changed a bit. Anyone wishing to skip his party's primary for a November challenge must change his voter registration before the upcoming primary. That will be the sign.
Whether it is back to the future with a Caliguiri-like run or Pittsburgh's first taste of the future of campaigning, it should be a good ride.
Joseph Sabino Mistick, a lawyer, law professor and political analyst, lives in Squirrel Hill. E-mail him at: SabinoMistick@aol.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.
- Rossi: Rutherford falling apart, too
- Steelers open daunting season at Patriots, play 5 prime-time games
- Rangers enjoy benefits of strong start
- NFL notebook: Ravens reach agreement on extension with CB Jimmy Smith
- Penguins notebook: Malkin says he’s fine, but scoring touch isn’t
- Visual artists want to scan you at Carnegie Museum of Art event
- Mother, son accused of robbing woman in Greensburg
- Steelers bring in 2 more cornerbacks for visits
- Police intercept drug courier returning to Western Pennsylvania with 316 bricks of heroin
- The Wine Cellar: Return of al fresco dining means it’s time for rosés
- Obama’s GOP abettors