Pittsburgh mayor behind attack ads

Associated Press


The city’s lame-duck mayor is behind a TV ad attacking one of the leading candidates running to replace him.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is listed as chairman of the Committee for a Better Pittsburgh, according to Federal Communications Commission disclosure documents filed by KDKA-TV, which was paid to run the ad.

The ad, which began Monday, accuses City Councilman Bill Peduto of voting for what benefits the neighborhoods he represents at the expense of poorer city neighborhoods.

“We need a mayor for all of Pittsburgh, not just Peduto’s neighborhood,” the ad says.

Ravenstahl didn’t return requests to comment but mentioned the ads on his Facebook page and in an online comment when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the origin of the ads on its website Tuesday evening.

“Truth is, no one is hiding anything, nor has attempted to. I have personally been the chairman of the committee since its inception,” Ravenstahl wrote. As to the ad, “It’s 100 percent factual and begins to expose the real Bill Peduto. Future ads will do the same,” the mayor wrote.

Peduto and Jack Wagner, the former state auditor general and one-time city council president, are considered the front-runners in the May 21 Democratic primary. State Rep. Jake Wheatley and political newcomer and activist A. J. Richardson also are running as Democrats.

Peduto’s campaign contends Wagner is behind the ads, though he’s not listed in the FCC documents as being a part of Ravenstahl’s political action committee.

“There is a lot of carryover between Ravenstahl’s camp and Wagner’s camp. If Ravenstahl is involved in deceptive advertising practices against us, Wagner is involved, too,” Peduto spokeswoman Sonya Toler said.

“I have not seen it,” Wagner said before a candidates’ forum Tuesday. “I don’t know who created it.”

Wagner spokesman J.J. Abbott called the Peduto camp’s response a “desperate attempt” to bootstrap Wagner to Peduto’s “seven-year battle” with Ravenstahl.

The Democratic primary winner likely is to be the next mayor because city voters haven’t elected a Republican mayor since the Great Depression, and the lone Republican candidate, Josh Wander, is relatively inexperienced.

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