Wander's long-distance run gives voters a choice
Republican Josh Wander knows his odds of becoming mayor of Pittsburgh are long, but he believes he won a moral victory.
“It's not all about winning. Part of it is just giving the voters another choice,” he said from Israel, where he recently moved his family because of his job.
Wander, 42, of Squirrel Hill, a security consultant, said he is running his campaign from the Middle East. He faces Democrat Bill Peduto, 48, and longshot independent Lester Ludwig, 80, of Squirrel Hill in the Nov. 5 election. Peduto, a city councilman from Point Breeze, is the frontrunner.
Pittsburgh's last Republican mayor was John S. Herron, from 1933-34, but that didn't stop Wander from taking a second stab at becoming mayor.
“It's a futile mission to go up against people who just go into a voting booth and push a button and don't care about anything other than Democrats,” said his adviser Andy Dlinn, 61, of Squirrel Hill. “Josh Wander goes out there to give voters a choice, even if they don't take it. I think it says a lot about his character.”
Wander was unknown to voters in 2009 when he waged an unsuccessful write-in campaign to unseat incumbent Democrat Luke Ravenstahl. Wander lost his bid for the City Council District 5 seat in 2011 to Corey O'Connor.
He holds out hope that city voters will realize Democratic Party rule for nearly 80 years is unhealthy.
“Eventually, people are going to wake up and say, ‘Enough is enough. We don't need to have an absentee mayor. We don't need to have a police chief under indictment,' ” he said.
Wander vows to push for legislation that would require mandatory work attendance for the mayor, who earns $108,000 annually.
The legislation would be a jab at Ravenstahl, who has rarely been seen around City Hall since dropping his re-election campaign in March. Former Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper is scheduled to plead guilty on Friday to federal charges that he siphoned about $30,000 of taxpayer money for personal purchases.
If elected, Wander said he would privatize or merge with Allegheny County the city Parking Authority and Urban Redevelopment Authority. He promised to cut taxes.
He said he would be sworn in without owing a dime to special-interest groups.
“People don't realize that when somebody gives you a $10,000 campaign donation, they're not doing it out of the goodness of their heart,” he said.
City Republican Committee Chairman Bob Hillen, 55, of Beechview said Wander could effect change.
“He's a good conservative,” Hillen said. “He has a lot of good ideas on how to manage the city. He knows what the core values of municipal government are.”
An Orthodox Jew, Wander attended private schools in Pittsburgh and lived after high school in Israel, where he holds dual citizenship.
A former state constable, he 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 served in the Israeli military.
He and his wife, Tali, sold their home in late summer and took their six children overseas. Wander said they rent a home on Phillips Avenue in Squirrel Hill but would not provide the address for verification.
“If I'm elected, I've already committed that I will be back in Pittsburgh as soon as possible,” he said.
Bob Bauder is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or email@example.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.
- FDA rule to require chain restaurants to post calorie counts
- Steelers’ lookahead: New Orleans Saints
- Steelers cornerback Taylor ready to swap earpiece for helmet
- Ehrhoff finding his way with Penguins
- Roundup: Mazda recalls cars to fix tire pressure monitors; Wal-Mart’s top merchant out as key holiday nears; more
- Senior running back Bennett quietly filled role during Pitt career
- Retailers that won’t open on Thanksgiving hope move pays off
- Lower gas prices entice motorists to drive long distances for Thanksgiving
- No. 15 San Diego State hammers Pitt, 74-57
- U.S. Steel Tower tenants stand to benefit from company’s relocation
- District college notebook: IUP senior puts Stamp on program