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Peduto IDs limits on Pittsburgh mayor's war chest

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 11:44 p.m.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl raised nearly $1 million going into this year's mayoral election, but his closest challenger said the mayor can spend only a portion of that for the May primary.

Ravenstahl of Summer Hill has about $909,700 cash but can spend only about $680,000 of that in the primary because of city-imposed limits on campaign donations, according City Councilman Bill Peduto. Peduto of Point Breeze and Controller Michael Lamb of Mt. Washington are challenging Ravenstahl for the Democratic nomination.

“We're not saying that what (Ravenstahl) reported was wrong. It just wasn't complete,” said Peduto campaign spokeswoman Sonya Toler.

Ravenstahl campaign spokesman Matt Harringer called Peduto's assertions a “campaign gimmick.” Peduto reported having $260,900, and Lamb had $212,000.

Individuals can donate up to $4,000 for a candidate in an election cycle, and political action committees can give up to $8,000. But candidates can use only $2,000 of that individual contribution for the primary and $2,000 for the general election. PAC contributions must be split the same way.

Peduto said the mayor exceeded limits by a total of $228,900, Of that, $204,400 must be applied to the general election. The remaining $24,500 exceeded election cycle limits and must be refunded, Peduto said.

Harringer said many donors are unaware of the campaign limits and that the mayor intends to return all excess cash.

“Voters are more concerned about the issues than Mr. Peduto's obscure fundraising math,” Harringer said. “Even according to his numbers our campaign still has two and a half times the amount of cash on hand as Mr. Peduto.”

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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