What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 13, 2006

Election News!

What? Oh no, you say, we've had our fill. We've heard nothing but for the last couple of months. We did our bit. We not only turned out in droves, we maybe even made a couple of calls via MoveOn from our homes or canvassed one weekend...why, we're just getting over our hangovers from celebrating the Dems major pantsing of the Rethuglicans last week.

What possible election news could there be now?

And, no, this is not a post about presidential hopefuls in 2008 (Feingold out, Vilsack in).

I'm talking about those bastards at the Post-Gazette who just had to go and bring up the fact that Pittsburgh is facing a hot special election for mayor next year.

According to Rich Lord:

Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy ride!

He lists eight possible candidates for the Democratic primary:
Mayor "Opie" Ravenstahl
David Caliguiri
Mike Dawida
Rich Fitzgerald
Dan Frankel
Michael Lamb
Bill Peduto
Harry Readshaw
He also makes some news for those of you insisting that State Senator Jim Ferlo and Auditor General Jack Wagner would be running by quashing those rumors. Ferlo also publicly comes out in support of Opie.

The P-G article begins with:

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl spent 16 hours Tuesday hitting polling places and victory parties. Councilman William Peduto is attending some eight events a day and buttonholing campaign donors. Allegheny County Prothonotary Michael Lamb is conducting a poll.
Hmmm...So declared candidate Ravenstahl and as-yet-undeclared-candidate Peduto are running around campaigning like maniacs and Lamb is "conducting a poll." Why do I get the feeling that Lamb will finish no better than last year if he does actually run?

Anyhoo, as to be expected Mark Rauterkus takes major umbrage with Lord's list (do you want to announce now, Mark?) and The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat thinks outside the box to add a few more names that the P-G overlooked.

As I write this, our boy-mayor is walking into City Council Chambers to present his budget. He arrived flanked by Councilwoman Tonya Payne and Councilman Dan Deasy. Was there some official reason for this escort or have the alliances already been drawn?

Did we really need a reaction shot of Yarone "Bloggers Are Out To Get Me!" Zober applauding the Mayor?

Stay tuned to this blogging channel for answers to these and other questions in the upcoming days, weeks, and months of what's going to be one long-ass race for the top spot in Pittsburgh Politics.***

***If you don't count any Overlords or Oversight Boards.


PtBreeze said...

If that's the field, this race is between Ravenstahl and Lamb. Peduto's base gets too split up.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I'm not going to 'announce' that I'm a candiate today. However, ... I was not able to go to the budget presentation because I was engaged in an Allegheny County Board Of Election meeting in the other hall of the people on Grant Street at the same time.

When we can't get our people into watch the vote being calculated / tabulated -- as rightfully stated in law -- then what's the point in holding elections at all?

The Libertarian Party of Allegheny County cares about our democracy. We were denied the right to have our monitor attend the Grant Street vote count for no good reason.

I want a lawful, open, honest and transparent system and there are others who do not. One bad actor is the County's Solicitor.

You need to roll out the welcome mat -- not build walls of exclusion.

Make a list as to who is in and who is out -- and make our region decline further.

The region needs to 'think again' as in being open minded, accepting, diverse and without barrier of entry.

So, jukie blogger, thanks for your efforts in kicking open the doors to inclusion.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Can you put Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates on your blogroll of Pittsburgh Politics, please.



Furthermore, don't overlook the races (primary and general) for County Executive in 2007.

Sam Drucker said...

If you want to have any credibility, drop the "Opie" crap. It's not even that funny. Leave the junior high-level name calling to McIntire.

Anonymous said...

Between Ravenstahl and Lamb? Michael Lamb ran hard and long and came in third. He's a nice guy, but his personality is much more attuned to Controller than to mayor. He will run the same kind of blah campaign and will only serve as a spoiler to give Ravenstahl the nod.
Peduto's base gets split up? How? Only a splinter group of folks in the progressive community sided with Lamb last time - and there's every reason to believe Peduto's base has GROWN over the last year. Take the biggest ward in the city. Peduto won the 14th despite the fact that O'Connor lived in and represented the ward. Without him in the race, and with new pro-Peduto ward leadership, Peduto will dominate and therefore start out with a 30-35% base of eastenders and progressives. Is that his ceiling? I don't know, but Lamb peaked at 24% and I'd be surprised to see him go all-in for a career-ending disappointment. Run for Controller Mike, you got my vote for that.

PtBreeze said...

Anonymous, I agree that Lamb would make an interesting Controller and he is probably leaning that way but how can you think that Peduto's base would not be split up. Frankel, Fitzgerald and Caliguiri would all take some east end vote. Bill has done zilch to expand his base and O'Connor voters from 2005 are more way likely to go to Lamb and/or Ravenstahl.

Anonymous said...

Peduto is in trouble with progressives that saw him not supporting the living wage resolution. that could be his downfall.

Anonymous said...

PtBreeze: I'd agree that O'Connor voters are more likely to go with Ravenstahl city wide, at this time, but the 14th ward voters are going Peduto, they have no attachment to a 26 year old who appears to be in need to ask his staff what the big words in the budget mean.

Would they go with Lamb? I can't say, but they are discerning voters who didn't throw their votes away to Nadar and won't throw them away to Lamb.

Frankel and Fitzgerald are simply throwing their names out there. Frankel could raise a lot of dough, but could not win. He's Tom Murphy's boy. He won't run.

Fitzgerald may be county council president, but he's out of his depths in a real election. He won't run.

Caliguiri is counting on the fact that the people of this city are so stupid that they'd vote for a blank slate just because he has a familiar last name. If he were running for council or judge, maybe, but this is mayor, & I refuse to believe people are that stupid. He won't be able to raise the kind of money Ravenstahl and Peduto can. He won't run.

And as for the living wage, that's old, old news and not high on the progressive agenda.

Sorry if I sound like a Peduto fanatic - I'm not - not yet - I just call em like I see em.

Oakland Bill said...

Peduto may not be as strong in the 14th as he (or anonymous) thinks. There is still a bad taste in the mouths of the older liberals based on Peduto's role in the Coyne-Cohen campaign for congress. They may be looking for another alternative, and Caligiuri is a good one. He grew up in the 14th ward, is friendly with the pro-Murphy block there, and can garner some of the O'Connor votes in the East End.

As for the rest of the city, Peduto pretty much maxed out is potential vote in 2005. Let's face it, there just aren't that many liberals (sorry, progressives) in this city.

PtBreeze said...

All I'm saying is, if all those east end names are in, Peduto is out. The votes that Ravenstahl and Lamb pick up across the rest of the city will be insurmounatble. And remember, a lot of 14th Ward voters still remember the disgusting campaign Peduto ran against Coyne.

Maria said...

So let me get this straight...the 14th Ward somehow forgot how 'terrible' Peduto was in 2005 but they will remember in 2007.

Can I have some of what you're smoking?

Mike said...

Remember Udin and Riccardi were the front-runners in 2003 to early 2004. The conventional wisdom then was, "O'Connor can only win if nobody else decides to run." Peduto and Lamb were afterthoughts.

Riccardi and Udin had the time to raise money. And they quickly figured out that they couldn't make a go of it. Others (Frankel among them) might've run in a different climate. But Murphy was so unpopular that anyone associated with him was doomed and they sat it out.

So Peduto and Lamb ran. Tragic circumstances forced an election that no one was planning for next spring. Peduto and, to a lesser extent, Lamb have the advantage of having been there and done that before. They have a relatively fresh volunteer database. And they have relatively fresh voter and donor lists. Those things are tremendous advantages.

If Ravenstahl has the complete support of the O'Connor machine, then he's on equal footing. But his own alliances (with Councilman Jim Motznik among others) make me question if Ravenstahl really has the unyielding support of the O'Connor faction. I also believe Bob was probably the only local politician that could hold that broad of a coalition together.

So the question remains, how much of the O'Connor coalition supports someone other than Ravenstahl? And who gets that support?

No one planned on this election. I'd personally say it's probably wide-open, but it's still hard to beat an incumbent--even one who has only been in office for 8 months.

Anonymous said...

Maria, what your'e forgetting is that, in 2005, more than 60 percent of the 14th ward voted against Peduto.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, what you're forgetting is that in 2005 Bob O'Connor was running for Mayor. So,yeah, in his mayoral race Peduto couldn't match Bob's totals.

Check out Peduto's 14th Ward numbers in his 2005 Council re-election race.

Shawn said...

*sigh* I find Pittsburgh's politics wearying in a way that far outsrips any other level's.

Still, I may have missed this, but who, if anyone, is Doug Shields supporting?

Anonymous said...

When did Yarone Zober say that bloggers were out to get him??

Anonymous said...

I was a big O'Connor backer and part of the campaign team...I will work for one one other than Luke.

Maria said...

"When did Yarone Zober say that bloggers were out to get him??"

When he ranted at a party how much he hated blogs and that all the blogs said he was gay.

Maria said...

"I was a big O'Connor backer and part of the campaign team...I will work for one one other than Luke."

Well, there's one one supporter of Luke Luke.

Anonymous said...

Ferlo's quote in the PG supporting Luke was pretty strong. Something about "all the reources I can muster". How does that impact Peduto's potential base? Bodack is up for a tough reelection bid coming up. Ferlo could also trade his support for Bodack in exchange for Bodack's support of Luke's candidacy.

If you think of Luke as a front man for Ferlo's brain and Lieberman's money, its a hard combination to beat.

Mike said...

Ferlo has lots of support on the left of the party. He also has support deep support in the Highland Park/Lawereceville section of the city. Things may have changed since he got elected to the Senate, but he never raised a bunch of money. He's a good man, and his word counts for a lot.

And as for Yarone, he should know better. If the blogs weren't implying that he was gay, word of mouth would be. (For the record, I know for a fact Yarone's STRAIGHT). The more he complains about it, the more people notice, the more it becomes word of mouth, and the more blogs imply he's gay when he isn't...unless, of course, this is all part of a grand scheme to get Ravenstahl the support of the gay community. If I were him, I'd just laugh about people being so stupid.

Still there are many questions that only an election will resolve. Does Ravenstahl have the complete support of the unions? How much of Bob's support goes elsewhere? Who leaves? Who gets the support?

Nobody really knows.

Maria said...

Even Ferlo should have a tough job convincing anyone on the left that they should vote for someone who has publically stated in the P-G that they are a "social conservative" as Ravenstahl did.

For the record, 2pj never implied that Yarone was gay.

Anonymous said...

Ferlo helped convince many lefties to support O'Connor, a "social conservative." Onorato still does pretty well with liberals/progressives despite his social conservativism. Ravenstahl is clearly on the otherside of Peduto and Lamb on social issues but, do progressive Pittsburghers chose their candidates on this alone? It seems to me that if people think Ravenstahl is doing a good job as mayor it won't matter much where he stands on social issues.

Maria said...

"Ferlo helped convince many lefties to support O'Connor, a "social conservative."

"Many?" Ummm...really?

Then who were the near 50% who didn't vote for O'Connor who voted instead for Peduto and Lamb?

Are you saying that over 50% of Pittsburgh voters are Lefties???

Anonymous said...

No. I'm saynig tha a lot of people who are pro-choice and/or anti-war and/or pro-civil liberties voted for O'Connor last time and voted for Onorato three years ago.

Anonymous said...

What ilks me is why must Lamb feel the need to run for anything? Does he or anyone really believes that he really brings anything to the table? He's ridden the gravy train long enough; when the elected Prothonotary post is abolished, move on. Nobody really cares (never has, really) who sat in the Prothonotary's office and he's only there but for the death of Michael Coyne. Unfortunately for us, Lamb's head and ego became very huge after assuming the post and he really feels a sense of real importance -- can you believe he's actually taking credit for the change in the new form of county government that the electorate passed a few years back? The truth of the matter is the three commissioner system was replaced with an executive and council because the last occupants of the commissioner suites in the courthouse were incompetent idiots. Not because of anything Lamb did or didn't do. Just as surprising to me is that Dawida believes that he has a shot at winning the mayoral election next year. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the cover story in the current issue of the Pittsburgh City Paper about the generational shift in Pittsburgh party politics, there is at least one glaring issue that requires clarification.

In the article, Joe Mistick, the esteemed Duquesne University law professor and local political pundit who usually is quite on the mark with his analysis of the political game, makes mention that the late Allegheny County Commissioner was once a political maverick who at one time beat the political machine and then after several terms, became entrenched in office and became the machine. This point is absolutely correct. However, Mistick goes on to state that the voters had to do away with the three commissioner system to finally get rid of Foerster. This, however, is not accurate. The referendum was not even placed on a ballot until years after Foerster was voted out of office.

The commissioner, who became complacent in office, was defeated for a variety of compelling reasons in his final run to hold onto the seat he held for seven terms. At that time, the entrenched Foerster administration was beleaguered by a series of serious scandals which got caught in the crosshairs of a few investigative reporters. The result was a number of very negative stories that seemed to dominate the airwaves and both of the Pittsburgh dailies and proved disastrous for the long-term commissioner. The Foerster regime was crumbling slowly until it finally collapsed on primary election day in 1995 when the Foerster-Pete Flaherty ticket was defeated by the team of Mike Dawida and Coleen Vuono. But the story doesn't end there.

As it turned out, Vuono, who incidentally had a much better grasp of the issues and was more knowledgeable in the arena of county government than her running mate, lost her bid for one of the three seats on the county commission to an unemployed political novice by the slim margin of 900 votes in the general election. As it also turned out, I've been told that many of Dawida's campaign staffers didn't even vote for her, which speaks volumes as to their inexperience and intellect.

As disappointed as some of us who worked tirelessly for the Dawida-Vuono ticket were after the general election defeat, this disappointment pales in comparison to how Commissioner Dawida fared during his term. In addition to alienating those who got him elected and who were still willing to go the extra mile to help make his term as minority commissioner at least a respectable one, he joined forces with the even less-experienced Bob Cranmer and allowed the reins of county government to be controlled by County Manager Glenn Cannon and staff, who made the Dawida campaign team look like geniuses. To say that Cannon wasn't equipped for the job and was way-in-over-his-head is a gross understatement. The Dawida-Cranmer-Cannon recipe of mismanagement drove the county into the ground, both operationally and financially. This is precisely the reason that voters opted to rid Allegheny County of the three commissioner system of government. Changing the form of our county government virtually guaranteed getting rid of those responsible for the need for change. Dawida's campaign slogan was "Change Allegheny." I can't think of anything more fitting.

There has been some scuttlebutt that Dawida is now weighing his options with regard to possibly running for Mayor of Pittsburgh in the spring election. I will not place any bets at this time as to whether Luke Ravenstahl, Bill Peduto or any of the other potential younger candidates -- or someone else -- will be victorious in May. But my smart money will be bet that the voter's of this city will recognize that Dawida has no real vision for this region and will not be duped by him a second time.