Katie McGinty, one of the Democratic contenders for governor, favored the crowd with a few bars from "When Irish Eyes are Smiling.''
Tom Wolf offered a typically low-key recital of his background in the Peace Corps and in business.Former Auditor General Jack Wagner made a fleeting appearance as well Friday night at The Royal Palace restaurant on Route 88 as candidates for offices up and down the ballot worked a crowd of several hundred gathered at the annual pre-endorsement rally of SEADS, the South End Active Democrats.
After his brief remarks to a audience sporting more than its quota of pre-St. Patrick Day green, Mr. Wolf huddled in a corner with U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, county Executive Rich Fitzgerald, and state Sen. Wayne Fontana. They would meet again Saturday, along with a roster of other local Democratic officials at an endorsement rally for Mr. Wolf, the businessman who has, at least for the time being, leapt to the front of he Democratic field for governor after weeks of heavy advertising.
Mr. Doyle said that he had decided to get behind the wealthy businessman because, "He's got a great story; he's got everything ... you just heard, the Peace Corps, he's manufacturing with American workers; he's got a message that really resonates with people.''The veteran congressman described an earlier lunch meeting with the former state revenue secretary where strangers recognized the candidate from his heavy wave of television commercials.
"He's really striking a chord,'' he said.
Mr. Fitzgerald declined to identify the cast of supporters that would show up at the Courthouse Saturday afternoon but he predicted a big turnout from a broad spectrum of local officials including Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Mr. Fontana.
While former Auditor General Jack Wagner made a late entry into the race, Mr. Doyle predicted that Mr. Wolf would win a disproportionate share of the region's votes on May 20.
"Western Pennsylvania is going to write the story for this guy,'' he said.