by Chris Potter
There's been a long-running debate about whether young voters can make a difference in a Pittsburgh election -- see here, for example, and here and the comments here. But there's evidence that mayoral candidate Jack Wagner, at least, is taking young voters plenty seriously.
The proof: his new ad, which features his daughter, Sara. In a release, the campaign says the spot "highlights Jack's perspective of being a father to college-aged kids and having a deep understanding of the issues facing young adults."
Sure enough, it launches with Sara Wagner asserting that her dad "knows what's important to young people like me. He's evolved a lot on social issues, and I'm really proud of him." It then proceeds to more familiar claims, like Wagner's ability to work with everyone in city government.
As we've noted here previously, on LGBT issues especially, Wagner has come a long way since his city council days. And at debates, he routinely makes a point of emphasizing the importance of sensitivity to the "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community." (I don't think I've ever heard him use the acronym, now that I think of it.)
It's a cute spot, ending with a self-consciously dorky father-daughter fist-bump. But I can't help but feel it speaks to a certain unease about younger voters within Wagnerland: Polls consistently show Wagner lagging with that portion of the electorate. And in its own way, the spot may mark a sort of coming-of-age for one portion of the city's electorate: All the sudden, even sixty-something politicians are catering to younger voters as if they were septuagenarians at the Bingo hall. Mazel tov!
See the ad below: