PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A judge’s ruling that there are no limits on campaign contributions in this year’s race for mayor of Pittsburgh could increase the influence of one elected official.
And that influence has become a point of contention in the campaign.
Bill Peduto’s strongest supporter for mayor is Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald — giving Peduto his first campaign check, and now free to give him tens of thousands more, but Fitzgerald says his help goes beyond money.
“I’m sure I’ll continue to help Bill Peduto raise money as I am helping Bill with other levels of support, helping Bill with policy decisions. We’re working together,” said Fitzgerald. “People get caught up on the political stuff, but we work on policy things together.”
Jack Wagner says he’s not worried about Fitzgerald’s support for Peduto. However, he says, “maybe it should worry the citizens of the City of Pittsburgh.”
“I personally have never seen an elected official from another office try to control the mayor’s race,” said Wagner.
Where Fitzgerald sees as an important coalition of good government advocates, Wagner sees as a threat to the mayor’s independence.
“He has had significant influence over Councilman Peduto. That’s not the way government should work, and that’s not the way campaigns should work,” said Wagner.
Peduto says Wagner’s attack demonstrates why he should not be mayor.
“It’s important that we have a mayor and a county executive that actually work together instead of a mayoral candidate that constantly attacks the county executive,” said Peduto. “I don’t know how we’ll ever get the big things done if you elect a mayor who’s at work with the county executive.”
Fitzgerald is not the only politician on Grant Street who could play a major role in this campaign for mayor.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl reportedly has $900,000 in his campaign account, and everyone knows that money is not going to Peduto.
But so far, the mayor is mum on how — if at all — he will help pick his successor.