Republican mayoral candidate Josh Wander says Pittsburgh needs someone to come from the outside to fix the problems the city faces.
“We need somebody from the outside that’s going to come in and is going to transform the system there,” Wander said. “Somebody who’s been in politics for a decade is not the right person to do that. Somebody who’s a part of the party that’s been in power for almost a century is not the person to do that.”
Wander, 42, comes from way outside that system. In fact, he’s currently not even in Pittsburgh.
Wander works as a private security consultant, has dual citizenship in the United States and Israel, and said international travel is a regular part of his gig.
“I was in Russia, now I’m in Israel, and soon I’m going to be in Kenya possibly,” he said. “That’s just what I do for a living, that’s my day job, and until I’m elected mayor, I’m not going to quit it.”
In the meantime, Wander said, his staff is actively campaigning for him in Pittsburgh.
“They’re doing whatever a campaign staff does," he said. "They’re doing everything from making the calls to keeping in touch with the media.”
He said it is not unusual for campaign staff to do the bulk of the work for a candidate, and his campaign is no different.
Wander also said that social media has helped him promote his campaign from afar.
“I do a lot of that via social media right now, from abroad, and I’m definitely on top of every tweet and every message I get, from Pittsburgh or anywhere else,” said Wander.
However, the Facebook page Josh Wander for Mayor has less than 400 likes, and the latest posts are from Sept. 17 and Aug. 30.
It’s Wander’s Twitter account, with more than 13,000 followers, that's getting the most traffic.
Some of Wander’s recent tweets have responded to criticisms of his decision to leave the country during the mayoral campaign season.
Wander said that his absence is not impacting his campaign.
“I don’t think that it’s going to affect it one way or another, except for getting front page publicity in the newspaper,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that that’s what it takes for a Republican to get some publicity is to leave the country.”
Wander said he plans to be back in Pittsburgh before the first mayoral debate on Oct. 14.