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Lamb defeats Rudiak, hangs onto Pittsburgh city controller office

Bob Bauder
| Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 9:26 p.m.
Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb speaks to members of the media outside of his voting site at the Whittier School, in Mt. Washington, on Tuesday morning, May 19, 2015.
Nate Smallwood | Trib Total Media
Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb speaks to members of the media outside of his voting site at the Whittier School, in Mt. Washington, on Tuesday morning, May 19, 2015.
Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb votes inside the Whittier School, in Mt. Washington, on Tuesday morning, May 19, 2015.
Nate Smallwood | Trib Total Media
Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb votes inside the Whittier School, in Mt. Washington, on Tuesday morning, May 19, 2015.
Natalia Rudiak speaks with Jacob Redfern, 27, of Versailles, at her evening gathering at Double Wide Grill on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Rudiak lost to Michael Lamb in the race for City Controller.
Nate Smallwood | Trib Total Media
Natalia Rudiak speaks with Jacob Redfern, 27, of Versailles, at her evening gathering at Double Wide Grill on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Rudiak lost to Michael Lamb in the race for City Controller.
Natalia Rudiak hugs supporter Lisa Valiant, 67, of Carrick, at her evening gathering at Double Wide Grill on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Rudiak lost to Michael Lamb in the race for City Controller.
Nate Smallwood | Trib Total Media
Natalia Rudiak hugs supporter Lisa Valiant, 67, of Carrick, at her evening gathering at Double Wide Grill on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Rudiak lost to Michael Lamb in the race for City Controller.

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb won a third term Tuesday in a lopsided race, according to unofficial Allegheny County election returns.

Lamb, 52, of Mt. Washington was leading City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, 35, of Carrick with 94 percent of Allegheny County voting precincts reporting.

Lamb had 66 percent of the vote compared with Rudiak's 33 percent. Rudiak retains her council seat for another two years.

Rudiak said she called Lamb and conceded the election at about 9:30 p.m.

“I'm proud of the fact that we were able to raise the profile of the controller's office and talk about the importance the controller's office plays in everyday Pittsburgh,” Rudiak said.

Lamb's victory virtually assures him another term, because no Republicans are running in the November election. The controller serves four years and has a 2015 salary of $70,343.

“We worked very hard talking to voters about the work we do, but also about the future of Pittsburgh,” Lamb said from a victory party at Coach's Bottle Shop & Grille in Banksville. “I think people are ready. They want to see things happen and we want to be a part of it.”

Rudiak, who watched election returns from the Double Wide Grill in the South Side, said she knew it would be tough to unseat an entrenched incumbent. “I couldn't be more proud of the campaign that we ran,” she said.

Rudiak, with Mayor Bill Peduto's support, challenged Lamb, saying he lacks fiscal leadership. She criticized his auditing as subpar.

Lamb called Rudiak a “rubber stamp” for Peduto and said she didn't understand the controller's role as a financial watchdog.

Rudiak promised to expand the role of controller and offer better fiscal leadership.

Lamb said he would focus his next term on helping to implement an electronic payroll management system for city employees and change the invoicing system for city expenses from paper to computer.

“We always knew that this race was about getting out and reminding people about the good work we do in the controller's office every day,” Lamb said. “We certainly were confident, but obviously you never know until the votes are counted.”

Bob Bauder is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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