Pittsburgh-area leaders expected to back Tom Wolf

Fitzgerald, Peduto support anticipated

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Tom Wolf, the Democratic front-runner in the race for governor, will be in town Saturday to showcase high-profile endorsements from Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and possibly other local elected officials.

Neither the county executive nor the mayor would comment on the development, which was confirmed by those involved in discussions with the candidate. It wasn't clear what other officials might join them at the weekend announcement.

Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Peduto are part of a group of local officials who have had ongoing discussions about the possibility of a group endorsement from senior Democrats in the region. U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, has been part of those discussions and one figure familiar with the endorsement conversation said he expected the congressman to be there as well.

Mr. Doyle did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Jay Costa, the state Senate Democratic leader from Forest Hills, said several weeks ago that he favored the candidacy of U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, Montgomery County, but was holding off on a formal statement of support in deference to the continuing discussions among his local Democratic colleagues.

The show of support will add to the early momentum of the Wolf campaign, which has rocketed to the top of recent surveys after a heavy round of advertising drawing on the $10 million in personal funds he has contributed to his campaign. While Mr. Wolf has been a major contributor to Democratic campaigns for years and served as revenue secretary during the Rendell administration, until now, state Treasurer Rob McCord and Ms. Schwartz have received more support from figures in the party establishment.

Also seeking the Democratic nomination are former state Auditor General Jack Wagner, also a former Pittsburgh councilman; Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz; and former state DEP secretaries John Hanger and Katie McGinty.

Politics editor James O'Toole: jotoole@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1562.

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