Jack Wagner highlighted a group of West End supporters Thursday, including city Councilwoman Theresa Kail Smith, as the mayoral contenders continued their endorsement arms race.
The day after his first television ads began airing, Mr. Wagner appeared with about 20 partisans, including state Reps. Harry Readshaw, D-Carrick, and Dan Deasy, D-Westwood, former Pittsburgh school board member Evelyn Neiser, and Rob Kaczorowski, the head of the city's Public Works department. The morning event took place at the Banksville headquarters of the Boilermakers Union.
Ms. Kail Smith praised the former auditor general as a public official with "the ability to put his ego behind him,'' saying that he had advised her on police-related legislation without seeking public credit for his role. She said that he would not face a learning curve in dealing with issues affecting neighborhoods south of the rivers because he had represented most of them over the years as a councilman and state senator.
Earlier this week, Mr. Wagner had been endorsed by former Mayor Sophie Masloff and city Councilman Ricky Burgess, while his rival, Councilman Bill Peduto had accepted the endorsement of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.
Mr. Peduto engaged in a bit of counter-programming a few hours later, as he discussed development in Beechview with several south-of-the-rivers officials who had endorsed him previously: state Sen. Wayne Fontana, state Rep. Erin Molchany, and city Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak. Mr. Peduto planned to join the air war competition Friday with the debut of his first ads.