Candidate for Pittsburgh city council seat files suit to nullify results of Democratic committee's nomination vote
July 25, 2013 6:30 AM
By Timothy McNulty Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A candidate in a Pittsburgh City Council special election filed suit today in an attempt to bar his opponent from being named the Democratic nominee.
Tony Ceoffe Jr. of Lawrenceville lost the Democratic committee's nomination for the vacant District 7 council seat in a vote Sunday to Deb Gross of Highland Park, with Ms. Gross narrowly beating him 47 votes to 43. An attorney for Mr. Ceoffe filed a complaint today in Common Pleas Court seeking to throw out the results, arguing it violated Democratic committee bylaws.
The filing from attorney Daniel Joyce says Ms. Gross, a committeewoman who formerly lived in Bloomfield's 8th Ward, was inappropriately allowed to vote, as she now lives in the 11th Ward; that Allegheny County Democratic chair Nancy Mills illicitly appointed five new members to the committee in weeks before the vote; that a state committeeman inappropriately voted; and that the nomination was held too early and should have been pushed back to July 28.
The Nov. 5 special election is being held to fill the two years left in the term of Patrick Dowd, who resigned this month to head an educational nonprofit.
Party candidates in special elections are tapped by their party committees, while others are allowed to run as independents. Mr. Ceoffe, who is the chair of the party's 6th Ward, changed his registration yesterday to independent and plans to file nomination signatures by next Wednesday's deadline.
The Gross campaign had no immediate comment. Ms. Gross, a community activist and former director of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance, has the support of Democratic mayoral nominee Bill Peduto and others in his political circle.