Scores of her supporters were crammed into an Ellsworth Avenue storefront Tuesday night welcoming Rep. Allyson Schwartz as she opened a Pittsburgh field office.
In the crowd were figures including Joseph Rossi, president of Teamsters Local 249, and Saleem A. Kahn, a professor at UPMC's school of medicine and a veteran volunteer for the Obama grassroots group, Organizing for America, and dozens of other supporters gathered in one of the most politically active neighborhoods in the city's Democratic scene.
Ms. Schwartz was introduced by Braddock Mayor John Fetterman who lauded her record in Congress, particularly on health care issues.
In her brief remarks before the enthusiastic partisans, Ms. Schwartz reminded them that she was the only woman in the state's congressional delegation, and said her experience there and in the state Senate prepared her to shake up the "old boys club'' in Harrisburg.
She described the state capitol's culture as, "a lot of politicians looking out for each other and not looking out for the rest of us.''
Her appearance came days after one rival, York County businessman Tom Wolf, scored a regional endorsement coup, showcasing Pittsburgh backers including Rep. Mike Doyle, county Executive Rich Fitzgerald, and Mayor Bill Peduto. Ms. Schwartz professed to be undeterred by the officials migrating to the Wolf camp.
"You see the groundswell of support here,'' she said. "This is a decision made by voters ... we are
engaging the voters; were still nine weeks out from the election.''
Standing a few steps way, Mr. Saleem said he had been attracted to her campaign by her work on health care issues in Harrisburg and Washington.
"She can get things done; she has a track record,'' he said.
He said his volunteer energies would be concentrated mainly on encouraging sign-ups for the Affordable Care Act between now and the March 31 deadline, but after that, the Schwartz effort would be his chief priority.
"She has a great ground game,'' he said. "It's following in the footsteps of the Obama campaign.''