Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto put his support behind District 1 City Council candidate Bobby Wilson on Thursday. The endorsement distinguishes Wilson in a field that currently includes three other candidates seeking to challenge incumbent Councilor Darlene Harris.
“Bobby Wilson has proven himself as a dynamic, qualified community leader in our Northside neighborhoods,” Peduto said in a statement. “[W]e have great opportunities for growth in that part of the City. As a fifth-generation Northsider, Bobby can be counted on to preserve what makes our neighborhoods unique. He will also be a partner with the community in supporting the kind of growth that is equitable and makes sure that all of our residents are seeing benefit.”
This isn't Wilson's first time running. He ran against Harris in the 2011 and 2015 elections, finishing third and second, respectively. And he's had Peduto's support before: In his 2015 bid, Wilson received $2,000 from Peduto, along with support from allies like County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
Other contenders in the race include Chris Rosselot, a former aide to Sen. Bob Casey, and Quincy Kofi Swatson, founder of The Door Campaign. At a District 1 debate forum, former school board member Mark Brentley announced that he would also run for the seat.
Rosselot responded to the endorsement, saying it "is not surprising."
"It’s just more of the establishment propping up their candidate," Rosselot said in an emailed statement. "The Northside needs independent leadership, not a mayoral puppet. "
Petitions for candidates in the May 21 primary are due Tuesday, March 12.
Harris has long been a thorn in the Peduto administration's side, and facing a split field of opposition has helped her secure re-election in previous campaigns. Peduto's statement acknolwedged that “there are several good candidates in this race, and I appreciate all that they continue to do with the City of Pittsburgh. My endorsement for Bobby Wilson is based on his values, his character, his experience, and his ability to win.”
“I trust that Bobby Wilson will always put his neighbors on the Northside first. He and I will not agree on everything, but he will always be fighting for his neighborhoods and our City.”
District 1 neighborhoods include Brighton Heights, Northview Heights, Spring Garden, Summer Hill and Troy Hill.