The Allegheny County Democratic Committee meets this weekend for its endorsement meeting. Before Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced he was leavening the race for reelection, he was on the endorsement ballot along with City Controller Michael Lamb. Lamb now remains the only name on the ballot.
“I understand that there are several other people running in the primary, but for the actual endorsement of the party, there will only be one,” said Committee Chair Nancy Patton Mills.
And that one will be Lamb – as it only takes a simple majority to get the endorsement at the meeting. Mills said there was some push back, with some asking for an extension or to re-open the filing process to add names. But, the deadline to be on the endorsement ballot was weeks ago, and she said everyone has to play by the rules.
“So if we would have had somebody step down from a City Council race, I certainly wouldn’t have opened up the endorsement process to allow for other people to get in. The mayor’s race is the same as any other city or county-wide race,” said Mills.
She said unusual situations are all laid out in the bylaws, and there are precedents to follow. She cites 2007 when a city council candidate won the committee's endorsement, but didn’t file the proper election papers and left the race. At that point, the endorsement race was re-opened but was only open to those who had already filed to be included – not to any new candidates. So, Mills said, even if she had reopened the ballot, Lamb would still be the only person eligible to be on it.
Ravenstahl requested his name be taken off the endorsement ballot Wednesday, though Mills said there was some question as to whether he would stay on. The deadline was February first.
The committee will hold the endorsement meeting Sunday March 10. Endorsements will also come for Judicial, City Council, and County Council candidates.