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Peduto backs Gross in D7 special

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Bill Peduto is spending his first political capital since winning the Democratic nomination for mayor -- he announced today that he is backing Highland Park's Deb Gross in the special election for Patrick Dowd's Deb Grossformer city council seat.

Gross, 47, is a community activist and former director of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance. She is also a longtime supporter of both Peduto and Dowd. From Peduto's press release:

"I know Deb as a community activist, a campaign volunteer, an employee, and more important, a friend. We share a passion for improving Pittsburgh's future and I am excited to endorse her candidacy for City Council. Deb has been a strong ally in improving neighborhoods in our city. She has the determination, experience, and thoughtfulness that we need in City Hall. You can count on Deb Gross," said Peduto.

Her only major opponent for the endorsement from Democratic committee members in District 7 is thus far Tony Ceoffe Jr. of Lawrenceville. He works for the city Housing Authority and is the son of Lawrenceville's District Judge. In special elections, Democratic and Republican committees are in charge of tapping the party's standard bearer but others (in this case mostly Democrats) are free to run as independents if they don't get the party nod. The special election will coincide with the Nov. 5 Municipal Election.

In case you missed it, read this post from Thursday to review the stakes in the special election: the special election could tip the scales in the council presidency (currently held by Peduto critic Darlene Harris) and will be an early test of the Peduto team's new political power.

More endorsements from leaders tied to the probable mayor-to-be could be forthcoming.

Peduto's full press release is below:

July 15, 2013, Pittsburgh, PA – Democratic Nominee for Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is the first local official to endorse Democratic Committeewoman Deb Gross for the city council seat recently vacated by Patrick Dowd.

"I know Deb as a community activist, a campaign volunteer, an employee, and more important, a friend. We share a passion for improving Pittsburgh's future and I am excited to endorse her candidacy for City Council. Deb has been a strong ally in improving neighborhoods in our city. She has the determination, experience, and thoughtfulness that we need in City Hall. You can count on Deb Gross," said Peduto.

Since locating to Pittsburgh in the late 1990s, Gross has become integral in efforts to craft a strong future. From her 1999 address to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development about Pittsburgh's promise and challenges to her ascension to executive director of the Pittsburgh Arts Alliance to her launching of Percolater to help community development organizations and other nonprofits, Gross has worked to empower neighborhoods and improve the quality of life in Pittsburgh.

A special election will be held Tuesday, November 5 to fill the vacancy in City Council District 7, which includes Bloomfield, Friendship, Highland Park, Lawrenceville, Morningside, Polish Hill, Stanton Heights and the Strip District.

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