Robinson’s one-foot-in, one-foot-out announcement further muddies the waters in a mayoral contest that appeared to be a three-way race until Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced he would not seek another term late last month.
As of this writing, as many as four additional candidates could join Robinson, City Councilman Bill Peduto and city Controller Michael Lamb in the Democratic Primary race. They are state Rep. Jim Ferlo, of Lawrenceville; City Council President Darlene Harris, North Side; state Sen. Wayne Fontana of Brookline, and state former Auditor Gen. Jack Wagner of Beechview.
Jake Wheatley, Hill District, said he is also circulating petitions and said he intends to file, but has said even less than Robinson regarding a commitment to running.
The deadline for filing nominating petitions, March 12, passed after New Pittsburgh Courier deadline. The deadline for candidates who have submitted petitions to withdraw from the race is March 27.
Lamb was the only candidate seeking the Democratic Party endorsement for mayor at its March 10 party meeting. Peduto chose to save his money for the campaign, and with Ravenstahl’s announcement coming after the deadline to seek the endorsement, none of the other hopefuls could do so.
But that didn’t stop them from attending the meeting at the IBEW hall on the South Side and trying to drum up support. Party officials, apparently upset with Wagner’s glad handing for votes, asked him to leave since he was neither a candidate nor a voter.
Robinson, Harris, Ferlo and Fontana also attended, as did state Rep. Jake Wheatley.
Most of the remaining endorsements were perfunctory. To no one’s surprise, Dan Gillman won the nomination for his former boss Peduto’s open city council seat with 33 votes. His rivals Jeanne Clark and Sam Hans-Greco finished with 23 votes and 14 votes respectively.
But in what has become a recurring puzzlement to some city residents, former city Councilwoman Tonya Payne again won the party endorsement over a sitting candidate, in this case city Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, who ousted Payne from her council seat four years ago.
Payne won the endorsement with 45 votes to Lavelle’s 37. In 2012 she lost a race to unseat Wheatley despite winning that endorsement too.
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