Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto filed election paperwork today to make him eligible to challenge Mayor Luke Raventstahl for the Democratic nomination in the spring.
Mr. Peduto's spokesman, Eric Hagarty, said the paperwork establishes his political committee and allows him to start fundraising for his bid for the mayor's seat.
The first fundraising check came from Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, for $8,000.
"Rich and Bill share a passion for the region and tirelessly worked together for decades in moving the region forward," Mr. Hagarty said.
Mr. Hagarty stressed that Mr. Peduto, a three-term councilman who represents the city's eastern neighborhoods, will not formally announce a run until after November elections.
"Right now, he and Rich are focused on electing Democrats for the 2012 election and you're not going to see any endorsements or announcements until the 2012 election are over," Mr. Hagarty said.
Mr. Fitzgerald professed to be surprised at the interest in his contribution to Mr. Peduto.
"I have supported a lot of candidates this fall in my role as county executive," he said. "Nobody has been calling me about those."
He estimated that he had given about $50,000 from his election funds to the re-election bids of President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, U.S. Reps. Mike Doyle and Mark Critz and multiple Pennsylvania House, Senate and state-wide races this fall.
Mr. Fitzgerald said Mr. Peduto had been among his strongest supporters in his race for county executive.
"He contributed much more to my race than I am doing for him," the county executive said. "He worked very hard on my behalf, going out and speaking and advocating on my behalf."
The two men also had worked together during Mr. Fitzgerald's time on county council.
"My county council district and his city council district overlapped, and Bill and I did the first joint city-county summit. Our working relationship goes way back."
Mr. Fitzgerald said the contribution should have no impact on his relationship with Mr. Ravenstahl.
"I want to have a good relationship with all elected officials," he said. "I'll work with the mayor on whatever projects will benefit this region."
This would be Mr. Peduto's third run for mayor. In 2007, he launched a campaign but dropped out two months before the May primary. In 2005, he finished a distant second behind Mayor Bob O'Connor, whose death in office resulted in Mr. Ravenstahl's mayorship.