The election for mayor of Pittsburgh is a few weeks away. Before the pundits, radio talk show hosts and newspaper columnists start their annual tirade on how Pittsburgh is ill-served by having one-party rule, let's examine why.
The Democrats had a vigorous primary season with multiple debates involving qualified candidates who are familiar to the public. Councilman Bill Peduto was victorious over Jack Wagner. Both have been in public service for many years. Upon winning the primary, Mr. Peduto has been in the public eye putting forth his vision for the city, including many specific policy initiatives.
The Republicans did not have any primary debates. They ran one candidate -- Josh Wander. Aside from being an elected constable in White Oak before he moved to the city, Mr. Wander has never held political office. He has been working in Israel for the last several months as a security consultant and has stated that he "might" return to Pittsburgh for the election. Regarding the mayoral contest, he has stated that his "only chance of actually winning in the race is if the Democratic nominee drops dead." Josh Wander is not a serious candidate.
Republicans need to field a candidate who will at least show up for a debate. Until the Republicans take elections seriously -- by fielding multiple, qualified, recognizable candidates, having primary and general election debates and clearly articulating their views for the future of Pittsburgh -- they have no one to blame but themselves for losing election after election.
First Published October 15, 2013 8:00 PM