A.J. Richardson, meet Josh Wander.
Wander, the Republican nominee from Squirrel Hill, is the next curiosity in the Pittsburgh mayor's race. He will get dutiful mentions in months of stories leading up to the Nov. 5 general election, probably invites to debates and plenty of interviews (like at the end of this story yesterday).
And he doesn't stand a chance of winning.
There are five times as many registered Democrats as Republicans in the city, so even in a low turnout race like yesterday's Bill Peduto got 23,597 votes to 2,017 to Wander. So Peduto already has 10 times as many votes as the Republican even if every single one of the 22,000 other Democrats who voted for Wagner/Wheatley/Richardson stay home in November.
Even when Republicans have plausible candidates with good organizations -- like Mark DeSantis, a former aide to late Sen. John Heinz, in 2007 -- they get crushed. (DeSantis lost to Luke Ravenstahl [!] by 30 points.]
To date, Wander is largely known for two things -- preparing for catastrophic terrorist attacks (see the clip above; story here by the P-G's Rob Owen) and lobbying to send the Statue of Liberty back to France.
Wander is the founder of "Jewish Preppers," a group that . . . well, hear about it in his words:
Jewish Preppers are often very family-oriented. We believe in taking the course of "what could happen", "what life may throw at us", and to be prepared for both man-made and natural disasters. Preparations include basic needs such as water, food, shelter, medical supplies and weapons supplies, as well as, the knowledge and skills to use these resources in order to sustain life, when our sources are not available.
He has remained active in the group, posting items this spring on finding the right insurance policies for "natural calamities and economical crunches" and the best hand protection "to manage in a survival-type situation."
Angered over France's position over the war in Iraq in 2003, Wander created a website called giveitback.org (Web cache here) seeking to send Lady Liberty packing. Realizing that would be pretty hard, at one point it was suggested they just send back her head. Here's a spot NPR did about it.