PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They protect city residents and those who work in the city 24/7 — Pittsburgh’s police and firefighters — and Wednesday morning their unions announced a candidate for mayor.
“We represent a united front to support Jack Wagner,” said Darren Kelly of the Firefighters.
Joined by leaders of two other local unions — the Teamsters and the Operating Engineers — Kelly said, “This constitutes the bulk of City of Pittsburgh workers.”
Also endorsing Wagner was state Sen. Jim Ferlo, who recently dropped his own bid for mayor.
“Grant Street needs a new sheriff in town. Jack Wagner is the right person at the right time for the right job,” noted Ferlo.
Wagner said it was a sign that his campaign is on the move.
“Pittsburgh needs a fresh new look from a professional, someone with experience, someone that understands government,” he told KDKA political editor Jon Delano, “and I certainly want to bring that to the mayor’s office.”
But given tensions that often arise with city workers and the mayor, Wagner was asked directly if there were any deals behind this endorsement.
“Absolutely not,” said Wagner.
The support comes as some polls show Councilman Bill Peduto leading Wagner, 30 percent to 20 percent, with city Controller Michael Lamb around 10 percent.
“It’s not factual,” said Wagner. “There have been independent polls done recently, and it shows me and Mr. Peduto neck-and-neck.”
Wagner admits he started behind but with these endorsements, “We feel that we are out front and we’re going to stay there.”
Besides Wagner, Peduto, and Lamb, there are three other candidates in the race: Darlene Harris, Jake Wheatley, and A. J. Richardson.
As for endorsements, Peduto was endorsed this afternoon by state Rep. Ed Gainey.
The primary election is May 21, just eight weeks from Tuesday.