Let the games begin
City Councilman Bill Peduto, an unsuccessful candidate for mayor in last year's election, appears to be steeling himself for a challenge to the city law department's ruling that Luke Ravenstahl should serve out the remainder of the late Bob O'Connor's term. The conflict lies in language that calls for a vacancy election to be held during the next municipal election, which would seem to contradict a provision that prevents a mayoral election and the election for controller from taking place in the same year. From the Post-Gazette:
City Councilman William Peduto, an unsuccessful Democratic mayoral candidate who lost to Mr. O'Connor in last year's primary election, said he does not believe there is a conflict if the mayoral election is held next year at the same time as the controller's race. His reason: because the mayoral election is not a normal race, but a special election to fill a vacancy.
"The [home rule charter] provision under the controller's office has nothing to do with a vacancy election, otherwise there would not be a vacancy provision for the mayor's race," Mr. Peduto said.
"It doesn't make any sense."
Mr. Peduto and Ms. Ernsberger agreed with others who said the final resolution of the election decision will no doubt be left up to a judge after a legal challenge.
Peduto was no doubt asked for comment by the Post-Gazette, and with O'Connor's body still lying in state in the City-County Building, he does not want to say that he'll be the one to make that legal challenge. Given that the chairwoman of the city Democratic committee also appears to question the city's ruling, one wonders if the party itself will make the challenge--assuming it has the legal standing to do so--and allow the individual candidates to keep their hands clean.
That just might put the committee at odds with the new mayor, who if he is smart, will try not to appear too vigorous in defending the law department's decision. A simple "I respect the decision of the city's law department" will be sufficient. His age and lack of experience is going to make it all the more important for him to appear statesmanlike while his potential rivals look like ambitious politicians.