PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The field of candidates to become Pittsburgh’s next mayor became a little smaller on Monday.
City Controller Michael Lamb officially ended his campaign and has endorsed former Pa. Auditor General Jack Wagner for the position.
Lamb made the surprise announcement Monday afternoon at his Greenfield headquarters.
“I’m here today to announce that I’m ending my race for mayor,” Lamb told a small crowd of supporters. “I’m doing this because I love Pittsburgh.”
Lamb dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination, saying a crowded field made it difficult for voters.
“This crowded field really muddies the debate, and I think there’s a real choice for mayor here,” he said.
That choice, says Lamb, is former auditor general Jack Wagner over Councilman Bill Peduto.
“Jack, as I said, is a guy who has great relationships both in labor and in business — and Bill doesn’t,” noted Lamb. “And when you think of the executive experience necessary to do this job, Jack brings that to the table — and Bill doesn’t.”
Wagner was on the South Side to shoot campaign commercials with volunteers, but was clearly pleased by the endorsement.
“Michael clearly understands the importance of this mayor’s race in 2013,” said Wagner.
Without naming Peduto by name, Wagner laid the groundwork for some differences.
“I don’t burn bridges in government,: he said. “I want to work with people. I want to get things done in the best interests of Pittsburgh.”
And with the support of two former candidates — PA Sen. Jim Ferlo and now Lamb — Wagner won’t call it momentum, but added, “We’ve been in this race three weeks, and we have gained considerable ground.”
For his part, Peduto issued a statement saying, “Voters have a clear choice.”
While PA Rep. Jake Wheatley and community activist J. R. Richardson remain in the race, many will see this as a battle between Peduto and Wagner, both formidable and experienced politicians.
The Democratic primary is seven weeks from Tuesday.