PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In his first television interview as a candidate for governor, former Auditor General Jack Wagner told KDKA political editor Jon Delano that he knows — in a crowded field — he’s the only candidate from western Pennsylvania.
Wagner: “There are more candidates in the eastern part of the state than in the western part of the state.”
Delano: “There are no candidates from the western part of the state — until you got in.”
Wagner: “So far. You’re right.”
But the former fiscal watchdog for the Commonwealth does not see himself as the local candidate.
“I believe that my service has been a service to the Commonwealth and not to a region in Pennsylvania,” he said.
But Wagner is less than a year removed from an unsuccessful race for mayor of Pittsburgh.
Delano: “Are you a perennial candidate?”
Wagner: “I’ve devoted my life to public service.”
Wagner concedes he’s lost and won elections, but says his experiences, including the military, enhance his resume over the others.
“My military service, I’m very proud of. The fact that I served in local government, president of Pittsburgh City Council, state senator, the auditor general, but I also have private sector experience for eight years,” he said.
And he says he hopes voters will recognize “that qualifies me even better to be a great governor of Pennsylvania.”
One big distinction from the other Democratic candidates, “I am pro-life,” Wagner says.
But he does not support changes to current Pennsylvania abortion law.
As for gay marriage, Wagner says, “We need justice and equality across the board, and yes, that includes same-sex marriage.”
But whatever his views, Wagner is starting way behind the others in campaign dollars.
“The public does not want to elect the wealthiest person. They want to elect a person that will care about them,” he adds.