I am a fan of Eric Heyl, but his column “Not all who Wander are lost, but he is” (Sept. 27 and TribLIVE.com) missed the crucial point. To even have a Republican candidate for any city office in Pittsburgh is futile. The Trib has admitted as much after a well-run mayoral campaign by Mark DeSantis garnered 35 percent of the vote in defeat. The candidate runs simply to provide voter choice.
Josh Wander chose to become the GOP mayoral candidate in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 5-to-1. He knew most city residents push the Democratic Party button without even considering candidates or issues. He did it to provide a choice for city folks who oppose the progressive, anti-business approach of the Democrat candidate for mayor, Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto.
In 1996, newcomer Bill Ravotti ran a bare-bones campaign in the 14th Congressional District (primarily Pittsburgh) and received 39 percent of the vote. The next time around, in 1998, he raised thousands of dollars, hired well-known professional campaign consultants, ran TV and radio ads and received 38 percent of the vote. Not only were Democrats not listening, they just didn't care to even consider a Republican!
Even though Wander's job has taken him out of town, he remains an active participant, has given interviews and stays in daily contact with his campaign staff. When Peduto left town on business for the summer, where was the outrage?
For Wander to turn down an opportunity that takes him out of town on business, for a race that Pittsburghers have proven he cannot win, would have been foolish.
Who knows? Maybe this November, the voters will defy the default choice!
The writer chairs Pittsburgh's 5th City Council District Republican Committee.
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