Retired Pittsburgh police officer plans to challenge Mayor Peduto in 2021 primary
A retired Pittsburgh police officer announced plans on Thursday to challenge Mayor Bill Peduto in the 2021 Democratic primary.
Tony Moreno, 51, of the city’s Brighton Heights neighborhood, said he spent 24 years fixing problems as a city patrol officer and narcotics detective, and that made him the best candidate for mayor. Moreno retired in 2018.
“I spent a career in mediating,” he said. “I had to immediately as a police officer mediate the worst thing that ever happened to somebody in 30 minutes. Give me a chance to study a problem and I’ll take care of it so everybody gets what they need and what they deserve.”
Peduto, 54, wasn’t surprised by Moreno’s announcement.
“I welcome anyone,” the mayor said Thursday during an event in Market Square that Moreno also attended. “That’s the beauty of democracy, and that’s why we have primaries.”
The pair later exchanged greetings and shook hands during a brief encounter.
Peduto of Point Breeze, a former city councilman, was first elected mayor in 2013. He won re-election in 2017.
Moreno said he started his campaign early so city residents know he is running and understand they will have options in 2021.
He said he realized that he must overcome Peduto’s campaign finance advantage, but he has the ability to raise necessary cash. Peduto had $286,643 in campaign funds as of December, according to his most recent filing with the Allegheny County Elections Division. The mayor said he had a fundraiser earlier this year and has another scheduled in coming weeks.
“I’ll raise enough money to win, whatever that is,” Moreno said.
An admitted political novice, Moreno said he is in the process of crafting a platform and wouldn’t discuss plans in detail, but said he would represent Pittsburgh “by taking care of Pittsburgh first and then opening up Pittsburgh’s arms to everybody who wants to be a part of it without any preconditions.”
“I am going to represent Pittsburgh the way Pittsburghers deserve to be represented,” he said. “I don’t have a social agenda. I don’t have a national agenda. I have a Pittsburgh agenda.”
Moreno is married to a Pittsburgh police officer and has two adult children from a previous marriage. He grew up in Whittier, Calif., notable as a childhood home of former President Richard Nixon.
He served as an Army Airborne military police officer from 1986 to 1991 and moved east with his former wife, who was from Youngstown, Ohio. He moved to Pittsburgh after landing a job with the police bureau.
He said he knew about Pittsburgh from its successful professional sports teams and considered it a town of tough, hardworking people.
“Pittsburgh was just one of those cities that I relate to,” he said, adding that he had job offers from other police departments, including Youngstown. “I could have gone all sorts of different places, but I came here.”
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .