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Peduto gets endorsement of Allegheny County Democratic Committee | TribLIVE.com
Politics/Election

Peduto gets endorsement of Allegheny County Democratic Committee

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Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (center) greets supporters at his annual holiday party, where he also kicked off his campaign for mayor. The event was held at Nova Place on the North Side, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016.
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John Altdorfer
Mayor Bill Peduto with his neice Emily Peduto at his 9th Annual Holiday Party, Nova Place, North Side. Dec. 14, 2016.

Allegheny County Democrats on Sunday endorsed Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and candidates for city council, Allegheny County sheriff, Allegheny County judge, city school board and magisterial district judge during a committee vote in the South Side.

Democratic committee members chose Peduto over City Councilwoman Darlene Harris by a 372-245 margin. Harris, 64, of Spring Hill sought the endorsement even though she has yet to officially declare her candidacy. Peduto, 52, of Point Breeze is seeking a second four-year term.

“We’re really excited,” Peduto campaign manager Keyva Clark said minutes after votes were tallied. “The momentum is here. The endorsement obviously means that the committee people see good in the mayor, but we have to make sure all of his constituents feel the same way.”

Harris said she thought she had a fair chance of winning the endorsement but was at a loss to explain the outcome. She said she would meet with supporters to decide whether to proceed with a campaign for the May 16 Democratic primary.

“I’ll be talking with my campaign to see what we’re doing,” she said.

The Rev. John C. Welch, 56, of Homewood also plans to challenge Peduto in the primary.

Peduto has a significant financial advantage over Harris and Welch with nearly $1 million in his campaign fund. Earlier Sunday, the Service Employees International Union announced its support of the mayor.

There were no surprises in the polling of Democratic committee members at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers hall.

Members endorsed Beechview roofer Anthony Coghill, chairman of the 19th Ward Democratic Committee, over challenger and political newcomer Gary McBurney, also of Beechview, for a District 4 City Council seat being vacated by Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak of Carrick.

Rudiak Chief of Staff Ashley Deemer of Beechview also is running for the seat but did not seek endorsement. Committee members endorsed city council members Theresa Kail-Smith of Westwood, R. Daniel Lavelle of the Hill District and Dan Gilman of Squirrel Hill, all of whom were unopposed in the polling.

Allegheny County Sheriff Bill Mullen routed retired Pittsburgh homicide Detective George Satler by a vote of 1,137 to 442.

The committee also endorsed:

• David Spurgeon and Patrick Connelly for Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

• Pat Catena, Charles Martoni and Robert Palmosina for Allegheny County Council.

• Sala Udin and Terry Kennedy in the only contested endorsement races for Pittsburgh Public Schools Board.

• Ron Costa and Dan Butler in the only contested races for district judge.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected].

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