Mayoral candidate Wander sold Pittsburgh home, currently in Israel
The Republican candidate for Pittsburgh mayor is running his campaign from Israel.
Josh Wander, 42, said he expects to return in time for the Nov. 5 election against Democrat Bill Peduto but would instruct campaign staff to assume his duties otherwise. Wander, a private security consultant, said he is in Israel working.
“As things calm down here, I will do my best to return with ample time before the election and participate in all the debate forums,” Wander said in an email on Tuesday.
But he said he could be bound for Kenya next and has been in Russia. He did not elaborate or return a subsequent request for comment. Republicans haven't put a mayor in office since the Great Depression.
Former Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey, who chairs the county Republican Committee, said he received an email from the Wander campaign informing him that Wander is in Israel. Roddey said he didn't know how Wander could be abroad and run a campaign. He hasn't heard directly from the party's nominee.
“Those are all questions that I would have for Josh if I were in contact with him,” Roddey said.
Peduto, 48, a city councilman from Point Breeze, declined comment on Wander's absence.
“We've got four debates scheduled, and I look forward to seeing him at those,” Peduto said. The first debate is Oct. 14.
Wander said he sold his Squirrel Hill home and took his family with him overseas. He said he is renting a home on Phillips Avenue in Squirrel Hill. He did not respond when asked for the exact address.
“I still retain legal residency in the city of Pittsburgh and believe that I am a viable candidate,” Wander said.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is not running for re-election.
A political analyst described Wander's absence as a slap to Republican voters and candidates.
“To knowingly be absent and to make public that my staff is going to run the campaign in my absence, that's almost reaching the point of being absurd,” said Gerald Shuster, professor of political communications at the University of Pittsburgh.
Candidates for mayor must maintain a legal residence in Pittsburgh for at least three years prior to an election, according to the city's Home Rule Charter.
Allegheny County Elections Director Mark Wolosik said Wander did not change his voter registration to his new address, but he doesn't have to. His name will appear on the ballot, Wolosik said, because the deadline for anyone to challenge his nominating petitions passed.
“If he gets elected, somebody can challenge his qualifications to hold the office,” Wolosik said.
Wander, who lost elections for mayor in 2009 and for a council seat in 2011, and his wife, Tali, sold their home on Hobart Street. The $208,500 sale was recorded on Sept. 4, according to county real estate records.
Wander holds a bachelor's degree in Talmudic law from Yeshivas Bais Yisroel University in Jerusalem and a master's degree in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh
He has served as a state constable and an Allegheny County Republican committee member.
“I do live in Pittsburgh, and my residency status is not up in the air,” he said.
Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Consol Energy cutting retiree health benefits, phasing out pension
- Fans flock to what they hope will continue ‘magical season’
- Jobs on state website include ‘private party dancing,’ ‘car dates’
- Lawmaker warns restaurant inspection grades would violate state law
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin bringing officials to practice
- Steelers’ Tomlin does not like his coaching style to be characterized
- Attorney General seeks halt in Conneaut Lake Park sheriff’s sale
- Groups sponsor candidates forum in Monessen
- Penguins notebook: Malkin picture muddy
- Penguins notebook: Crosby ‘confident’ despite limited preseason time
- Seneca Valley to offer more sports opportunities for girls