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Dem chair: Ceoffe suit "baseless"

Published by Tim McNulty on .

The chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, Nancy Mills, issued a statement today calling Tony Ceoffe's injunction bid in a Pittsburgh city council race "baseless and highly suspicious."

"The lawsuit that Ceoffe has filed is baseless and highly suspicious, considering his participation in the process," Mills continued. "I'm not sure what Ceoffe is used to, but we take pride in running a Democratic party that is transparent, principled, and representative of Democratic voters in Allegheny County.

Ceoffe lost the Democratic committee nomination for Patrick Dowd's vacant city council seat in a 47-43 vote Sunday to Highland Park's Deb Gross. He filed suit yesterday arguing the vote violated party rules and seeking a court injunction blocking Gross from getting the party nod.

UPDATE: Gross has also released a statement, saying "Our city and our neighborhoods are not well-served by playing political games and filing petty lawsuits." I'll post it below Mills' full statement.

The full statement from Mills is below:

Pittsburgh, PA—Today, the Allegheny County Democratic Committee and Chairwoman Nancy Patton Mills were served with a lawsuit filed by Tony Ceoffe, Jr., challenging the outcome of the Democratic nomination, which took place Sunday, July 21.

Members of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee met last weekend to cast a vote in determining the Democratic nomination for the special election to fill the vacancy on Pittsburgh City Council's 7th District. In that vote, Deb Gross was duly nominated over Tony Ceoffe, Jr. by a vote of 47-43. There were also two un-counted provisional ballots cast.

"It is always exciting to see the Democratic process at work," said Allegheny County Democratic Committee Chairwoman Nancy Patton Mills. "Both candidates worked hard in reaching out to our Democratic committee members in a campaign that was shortened by the constraints of a special election. We had a lot of interest in the race, with over 85% turnout of eligible voters.

"At the conclusion of voting, we counted the ballots multiple times in front of the candidates. I asked both candidates: 'Do you agree with the results of this election and the count?' Both answered 'Yes.'"

The following day, Tony Ceoffe, Jr.—the chair of the 6th ward Democratic committee—changed his party affiliation from Democratic to "No Affiliation." Several days later, he filed a lawsuit challenging the nomination process that he took part in.

"The lawsuit that Ceoffe has filed is baseless and highly suspicious, considering his participation in the process," Mills continued. "I'm not sure what Ceoffe is used to, but we take pride in running a Democratic party that is transparent, principled, and representative of Democratic voters in Allegheny County.


And from Gross:

Pittsburgh, PA—Deb Gross, the Democratic nominee to fill the vacancy on Pittsburgh's City Council in the seat vacated by Patrick Dowd, released the following statement regarding the lawsuit filed by Tony Ceoffe against the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.

"Our city and our neighborhoods are not well-served by playing political games and filing petty lawsuits. That's the politics of the past. Pittsburgh is ready to move on.

"As city councilwoman, I will be a leader who focuses on neighborhood-based development, making sure that all residents enjoy the benefits of economic growth, and to continue to make our neighborhoods a great place to live, to work, and to raise a family.

"I will let Mr. Ceoffe and the lawyers argue over the past; I am running a campaign based on optimism and looking to Pittsburgh's future."

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