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District 1 Candidates Drop Out Of Race Amid Petition Filing Challenges

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA

Two candidates running for the District 1 seat on Pittsburgh City Council, Quincy Swatson and Chris Rosselot, have withdrawn from the race.

Swatson announced his withdrawal on Wednesday in a Medium post, and confirmed it to 90.5 WESA on Thursday morning. 

Rosselot announced his withdrawal last week in a press release. Both candidates were facing challenges to the legitimacy of their nominating petitions. That leaves Darlene Harris facing Mark Brentley and Bobby Wilson in the Democratic primary. 

Swatson said he has not ruled out the possibility of running as an independent in the November general election.

"I'm voluntarily withdrawing from the primary race," he said in a statement, which made no mention of the petition challenge. "Only if either Mrs. Harris or Mr. Wilson win the primary election, will I opt to run against them as an independent in the general election."

Swatson did, however, say he would put his support behind Brentley, who was the last to declare his candidacy.

Rosselot said he plans to run as an independent in November. Rosselot had failed to file a copy of a financial interest statement with the city, an occasional paperwork error made by campaigns.

In a statement, Rosselot, accused candidate Bobby Wilson of filing the challenge. 

"Unfortunately, Bobby Wilson and the Grant Street machine have turned to their typical maneuvers and have challenged my candidacy based on a minor filing error I made," Rosselot said in his statement. "This technicality will prevent me from being on the ballot in the May Democratic primary." 

When asked whether he played a role in the ballot challenges, Wilson did not directly respond. 

"It's not unusual for there to be candidates that are facing some ballot challenges and dropping out at this point of the campaign," he said. "I can't speak to what they did, but I know that our campaign collected 510 signatures ... I believe people want candidates who are going to follow the rules. We need people on city council that are going to follow through. If there's some detail like this that can't be followed, what else will be left behind when we're actually trying to pass legislation?" 

Separately, in city council District 9, Randall Taylor has withdrawn, though he pledges to run as an independent in November. He cited the large field of challengers to incumbent Ricky Burgess as a key reason why.

"It's questionable that we could have been heard to the extent we wanted," because of the field. For one thing, he said, voters might have dialed the race out.

"The voters think the incumbent is going to get back in because there are so many people running against him [Burgess]," he said. 

Petition challenges were slated to be heard Thursday morning by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Joseph James. James delayed action on another petition challenge, this one facing District 3 council candidate Chris Kumanchik because of concerns the candidate had not been notified of the challenge. The case will now be heard on April 2.

One Pittsburgh School board candidate, Ashley Lynn Priore, was removed from the ballot in District 4. She was removed for failing to file a copy of her financial interest form with the district. However, Priore on Twitter disputed that claim, saying that she did mail in her form. She also said she will run as an independent in November