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Politics & Government

Joe Wise, Allegheny County Council candidate and devoted Moon Township resident, dies

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Wise campaign

Joe Wise, a candidate for Allegheny County Council District 1, has died, according to a statement Saturday from a top local Republican official.

Sam DeMarco, who chairs the local Republican party, said he was “absolutely shocked by the news of the death of Joe Wise.” He hailed Wise, a graduate of the Moon school district and a Moon Township Supervisor, for having “Moony Township in his blood. ..I will miss his wonderful sense of humor and his drive to make his community a better place for everyone.”

Wise’s campaign biography noted that the Duquesne University graduate had long been active in politics, having served as an aide to Congressman Austin Murphy and Senator Harris Wofford. He made a career in public and government relations, representing interests that included the UPMC Health plan, and became a real estate agent.

Wise had been the Republican contender for an open council seat, facing Democrat Jack Betkowski. He is survived by his wife Mary Jo and son Christian.

“Joe always lit up whatever room he walked into and never took himself too seriously,” DeMarco said. “His loss will be felt by so many for a long time.”

If Wise wins the race on Tuesday, County Council would declare the seat vacant when new council members are sworn in next January. An interim councilor would represent the district until the next round of municipal elections in 2023, and county spokeswoman Amie Downs said the choice would be made by Republican members of council. There is a precedent for such a result: Barbara Daly Danko won the Democratic primary in a county council race after passing away shortly before the election in 2015.