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Palmosina defeats incumbent Ellenbogen in Allegheny County Council primary

Theresa Clift
| Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 10:03 p.m.
Bob Palmosina
Bob Palmosina
Allegheny County Councilman Jim Ellenbogen, D-Banksville.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Allegheny County Councilman Jim Ellenbogen, D-Banksville.
Democrat Robert Palmosina, who is challenging Ellenbogen for the District 12 seat on Allegheny County Council.
Democrat Robert Palmosina, who is challenging Ellenbogen for the District 12 seat on Allegheny County Council.

Bob Palmosina, Collier's public works director, defeated Jim Ellenbogen in the Democratic primary for Allegheny County Council, meaning Ellenbogen will be leaving the elected office he has held for a decade.

Palmosina, a Democratic ward chair, won with 70.4 percent of the vote, according to the county's unofficial results. Ellenbogen tallied 29 percent of the vote with 96 percent of precincts reporting.

Ellenbogen, 61, of Banksville hasn't faced a challenger since he was elected to council.

Now, he said he's considering running for another office, Ellenbogen told the Trib after he receive the results of the primary.

“He worked hard (campaigning), I'll give that to him,” Ellenbogen said. “I wish him luck.”

Palmosina was endorsed by the county's Democratic committee — an endorsement Ellenbogen said he did not seek.

District 12 includes Pittsburgh's southern neighborhoods, the West End and portions of the South Hills.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's campaign committee gave $3,000 to Palmosina, while Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald gave Ellenbogen the same amount, according to campaign finance reports.

Palmosina, 53 of Banksville, worked for Pittsburgh's Public Works department for more than 30 years before Peduto fired him in 2014.

Palmosina filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was fired for supporting Jack Wagner, Peduto's opponent, in the Democratic primary. The city settled with Palmosina in February 2015 for $55,000.

Since then, the two have talked numerous times, Palmosina said.

“What happened back then is over with and I have moved on,” Palmosina said.

Palmosina said he is looking forward to working with the district's residents.

“They're gonna see me in their neighborhood,” Palmosina said.

No Republicans filed to run the council district's GOP primary.

County Councilmen Ed Kress, R-Shaler, and Charles Martoni, D-Swissvale, are set to face challengers of the opposing party in the general election on Nov. 7. The deadline to submit nominating papers for independents is Aug. 1.

Councilmen Bob Macey, D-West Mifflin, and Tom Baker, R-Ross, are also up for re-election but are so far unopposed.

No candidates filed to run to fill the vacancy in the District 4 — the seat council appointed Pat Catena to fill after Michael Finnerty resigned in December.

Catena filed to run for the new four-year term of that seat, which runs from Nov. 8 to Jan. 1.

If any candidate receives more than 250 write-ins in the primary, that name will go on the general election ballot, said Mark Wolosik, the county's director of elections. If not, another write-in will go on the general election ballot for that seat.

A McKees Rocks Republican, Dimitrios Pantzoulas, had filed to run against Catena in the General, but a judge removed his name from the ballot for breaking rules regarding the collection of signatures.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, or via Twitter @tclift.

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