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Judge rules against candidate’s bid to overturn Pittsburgh City Council nomination |

Judge rules against candidate’s bid to overturn Pittsburgh City Council nomination

A judge on Thursday reaffirmed that the local Democratic Party legitimately nominated a Highland Park woman for a vacant Pittsburgh City Council seat.

Tony Ceoffe Jr., 29, of Lawrenceville, who lost the nomination to Deb Gross, 47, claimed the Allegheny County Democratic Committee violated state election laws by permitting unauthorized members to vote on the nomination. Ceoffe lost the election 47-43.

“It’s unfortunate,” Ceoffe said after the hearing. “They testified themselves that they violated their own bylaws. (But) what’s most important is the work that is done out in the neighborhood, and that’s where I’m headed right now.”

Ceoffe abandoned the party after failing to secure the nomination so he could run against Gross as an independent candidate in the Nov. 5 election.

Gross declined comment after the hearing, but later said in a written statement that she was pleased with the outcome.

“Let us leave behind the politics of the past, represented by playing those political games and bringing phony lawsuits,” she said. “My campaign is about new leadership for our neighborhoods.”

Ceoffe’s attorney Dan Joyce argued that the committee’s nominating certificate was fraudulent because two unauthorized people, one of whom was Gross, voted in the nominating election. Common Pleas Judge Joseph James dismissed the same argument earlier this month.

Also seeking election to the District 7 seat formerly held by Councilman Patrick Dowd, who resigned to head a nonprofit child advocacy group, are: David E. Powell, a Libertarian, and Tom Fallon, an independent, both of Morningside; and Jim Wudarczyk of Bloomfield, another independent.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or

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