PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — n the last possible day, with just seconds to spare at 4:22 p.m. on 4-22, City Council President Darlene Harris changed her party registration from Democrat to Independent, making her eligible to run for mayor as an Independent this November.
“It was to keep my options open,” Harris told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Harris won’t confirm her candidacy — yet — repeating her mantra.
“It’s an option.”
“Just kept all options open.”
“I’ve just been keeping all those options open.”
But Harris — who backed Jack Wagner in the Democratic Primary — is sharply critical of Democratic nominee Bill Peduto.
“He doesn’t communicate, not just with me but with other members of council. That’s a concern because in order to move this city forward you need to be able to work with everyone,” noted Harris.
The last Democrat turned independent to win the mayor’s office was Dick Caliguiri, and after he did it they changed the rules.
Not only do you have to register as an independent before the primary, but Harris — or anybody else running for mayor — will have to get 895 signatures on nominating petitions before Aug. 1.
Harris, who as council president would become mayor if Luke Ravenstahl resigns, says she’s prepared to be mayor.
“I’m prepared. I have 37 years of involvement in the city,” said Harris.
“The people of Pittsburgh are looking for change. They don’t want more of the same,” Peduto said of the possibility of Harris running.
And the Democratic candidate says he’s not surprised.
“It’s about the old guard and a new Pittsburgh, and the old guard is fighting for everything they have and throwing everything in it to keep power. I don’t care who they run against us. We’re going to win,” added Peduto.
Peduto says if Harris runs against him — it is likely to be with the support of Ravenstahl, Wagner and their financial donors.
And if it’s not Harris, says Peduto, they will try to find someone else.
Harris says she has not talked to the mayor about this. In fact, she hasn’t seen or talked to Ravenstahl in over a month.
For her — at this stage — it’s all about keeping her options open.