Wander home: Wanna run for mayor? You've gotta be here

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It's time to drop the pretense that there's a viable Republican candidate for mayor of Pittsburgh.

Josh Wander, despite his claims of being a serious candidate worthy of serious consideration by voters, is spending the weeks preceding the Nov. 5 election living and working on the other side of the world, first in Russia, now in Israel where he holds dual citizenship.

He has said, by email and telephone, that he can manage a valid challenge to Democratic nominee Bill Peduto electronically and with help from supporters in the city, but voters deserve to see candidates in person if they wish, at debates, campaign events and around the neighborhood.

Nobody thinks Mr. Wander should have had to give up his job as a security consultant in order to seek public office, but his decision to take overseas assignments suggests that even he doesn't hold out hope of winning any meaningful support in the race.

Another recent action by Mr. Wander raises a bigger question about his commitment to the city -- he sold his Squirrel Hill house this month and now is renting a place nearby. That doesn't sound like a person who intends to stick around.

For all of his cries for equal time from the media and serious consideration from potential voters, Mr. Wander really doesn't have his head in the race. He's free to do as he pleases, of course, but it's time for him to stop pretending.

His actions are an insult to Pittsburghers who supported his run for office, and they should be an embarrassment to Republican leaders if they ever intend to compete in this century with the city's Democratic Party.

Voters deserve more from any candidate than they got from Mr. Wander.



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