Most election campaigns go on for months, even years, but the race for the District 2 seat on City Council is on a much faster track.
Three months ago, former Councilman Dan Deasy won election to the Legislature, and on Tuesday voters will return to the polls to select his council replacement for the rest of this year. The district consists of Banksville, Chartiers City, Crafton Heights, Duquesne Heights, East Carnegie, Elliott, Esplen, Fairywood, Mount Washington, Oakwood, Ridgemont, Sheraden, Windgap, West End and Westwood.
The abbreviated schedule has not prevented three Democrats from joining the race: Georgia Blotzer, 59, of Mount Washington is a retired special education teacher; Brendan Schubert, 25, of Westwood is a city zoning administrator; Theresa Smith, 49, of Westwood is president of the Crafton Heights Westwood Ridgemont Community Council. Chris Metz, 24, of Sheraden, the only Republican on the ballot, is political director of the Allegheny County Republican Committee.
Ms. Smith has her party's nomination, conferred in a December vote by members of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee. Mr. Schubert also sought the party's backing, but Ms. Blotzer did not.
All four candidates favor restrictions of varying degrees on campaign contributions, and they all seem genuine in their desire to help their city. But Ms. Blotzer and Ms. Smith bring extensive community experience to their candidacies, which gives both of them an edge over their competitors.
Ms. Smith has worked for the city schools in jobs focused on parental involvement, and she has been active in organizations as an advocate for the western neighborhoods in District 2. She was involved in the successful effort to reopen a police station in the West End last year, a move that was welcomed in the area but one that we believe may not represent the best deployment of scarce city resources.
Ms. Blotzer is active in the Mount Washington Community Development Corp. and the Coalition of Labor Union Women, and was a leader in a task force that worked for safety improvements on McArdle Roadway, a major artery on Mount Washington.
She parts company with Ms. Smith on the question of the city's fiscal overseers, and we share Ms. Blotzer's concern that removing the state constraints too soon could imperil attempts to keep reducing the city's extensive debt load.
There is strong competition, but Georgia Blotzer wins the Post-Gazette's endorsement as the candidate who would best serve the interests of residents citywide.
For audio highlights of the candidates' interviews visit post-gazette.com/forum