Peduto, Mullen win endorsements from county Democrats
March 5, 2017 5:54 PM
Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, right, watches the crowd file in as as County Executive Rich Fitzgerald talks with someone coming down the line of candidates as members of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee gathered at the IBEW Hall on the South Side on Sunday to cast their ballots for which candidates the party will endorse in the next election.
Sheriff Bill Mullen, right, listens to B.J. Samson, a committee member from Ward 11, as members of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee gathered Sunday at the IBEW Hall on the South Side.
Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, right, listens as County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, center, talks with Austin Davis, the vice chairman of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, at the IBEW Hall on the South Side on Sunday.
City Council member Darlene Harris, left, who was seeking the Democratic Party's endorsement for the mayoral race, gets a quick shake of the hand from Steve Hladonik, a committeeman from the 17th ward.
Sylvia C. Wilson, left, who is running for the District 1 school board seat, finishes up a conversation on Sunday at the IBEW Hall on the South Side.
Cynthia Falls, from District 7 and who is running for aschool board seat, waits to talk as members of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee gathered at the IBEW Hall on the South Side on Sunday.
Christine Szymarek of White Oak stands outside the IBEW Hall on the South Side holding a photo of David Spurgeon, a childhood friend who is running for judge.
Janie Vogel of Robinson flashes a thumbs-up as she stands outside the IBEW Hall on the South Side and campaigns for Sheriff Bill Mullen.
Richard Satler, center, father of George Satler who is seeking the Allegheny County Democratic Committee's endorsement for his run for sheriff, stands outside the IBEW Hall on the South Side as committee members arrive to cast their ballots for which candidates the party will endorse, Sunday Mar. 5, 2017, for the upcoming election. (Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette)
Sala Udin, left, who is running for a seat on the school board, listens to Benjamin Perrin, a committeeman from the 5th Ward.
Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, right, smiles as he hears a comment from Ernie Trello on Sunday. Behind Mr. Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald reacts as he recognizes someone coming down the line of candidates at the IBEW Hall on the South Side.
By Chris Potter / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Mayor Bill Peduto and Sheriff Bill Mullen won the Allegheny County Democratic Committee endorsement Sunday during a gathering of party leaders at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 5 hall on the South Side.
Mr. Peduto beat his sole rival for the endorsement, Darlene Harris, the District 1 city councilwoman, by a 372-245 margin.
“We took 60 percent of the vote, which is a pretty decisive victory,” said Matt Merriman-Preston, a spokesman for the Peduto campaign. “It really speaks to the breadth of the mayor's support. … People know that the mayor is continuing to deal with the challenges the city is facing, and they're pleased with what he’s done so far.”
This weekend, Mr. Peduto also formally garnered the support of a long-time ally, the service employees union.
Although he has run for mayor twice before, in 2005 and 2013, this was the first time he sought the party’s backing. Voters in the Democratic primary, scheduled for May 16, can and sometimes do ignore the endorsement, though the committee’s approval confers bragging rights and the chance to appear on “slate cards” handed out at polling places.
Ms. Harris has not formally announced a mayoral campaign, even as she has sought the party’s endorsement. She said Sunday’s result will play “a big part” in her decision about whether to launch a full-throated bid for office. As to her next step, she said, “I'll be making a decision on Tuesday,” when election petitions are due.
Asked whether she was disappointed by the outcome, she said, “Why would I be? I didn’t even announce I was running.”
Another mayoral candidate, the Rev. John Welch, was escorted out of the IBEW hall after a brief sojourn inside in the morning.
Rev. Welch of Homewood was not seeking the endorsement, and as such was not entitled to appear at the event. He withdrew to the sidewalk outside.
Sala Udin, center left, who is running for a seat on the school board, talks with a visitor Sunday at the Allegheny County Democratic Committee gathering at the IBEW Hall on the South Side. (Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette)
“I figured there would be some hospitality,” he said. “I had a chance to greet some people and then I was greeted.”
Sheriff Mullen, the top vote-getter on Sunday, garnered 1,137 votes, beating the 442 racked up by Pittsburgh homicide Detective George Satler.
Sheriff Mullen said it was “gratifying to get the most votes. I had a lot of people working very hard.”
“I was hoping to do better,” Detective Satler said. “But I don't want to disappoint the more than 440 people who supported me. I will continue to run.”
Sheriff Mullen took nothing for granted. While candidates often make last-ditch appeals to committee members by offering freebies before voting, Sheriff Mullen’s campaign provided an unusual boon: a golf cart to ferry less able-bodied committee members to the hall from the parking lots across the street.
In other races, Anthony Coghill easily won the endorsement in the District 4 city council race, beating Gary McBurney. (Another contender, Ashleigh Deemer, did not seek the endorsement.) Terry Kennedy, a Pittsburgh school board member who represents the 5th district, topped challenger Ghadah Makoshi. In Common Pleas Court races, Patrick Connelly and David Spurgeon won endorsement for the two judicial seats available.
“I think the results were predictable,” county committee chair Nancy Patton Mills said.
She called the event “exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. We had no issues. Everyone was cordial, and we’re very proud of all the candidates.”
Chris Potter: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2533.
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