Ceoffe "seriously considering" run to replace Dowd in District 7

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Lawrenceville resident Tony Ceoffe tells City Paper that he is “seriously considering a run” to fill the District 7 city council seat set that will be vacated by Patrick Dowd next month.

Dowd announced Monday morning that he would be resigning from council in July to head up a new non-profit focused on children's issues. District voters will choose his successor in a special election this November.

Ceoffe, the son of District Magistrate Tony Ceoffe -- who was a long-time Lawrenceville community activist before ascending to the bench -- said he began hearing from supporters not long after Dowd's announcement Monday morning.

“I received calls from a boatload of supporters from my 2011 campaign as well as supporters I've met since that campaign,” Ceoffe said. “I am seriously considering a run for the seat, but I just found out Patrick was stepping down at 8:45 [Monday] morning. I need to talk things over with my wife and my family before deciding.

“But if I do run," he added, "it will be to meet the needs of this district and not to be a rubber stamp for any special interests.”

Even though Dowd's announcement isn't yet 24 hours old, names are beginning to pop up as potential replacements. Paul McKrell, the government affairs manager for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, told CP on Monday that he too, was considering a run for Dowd's seat.

When he ran in 2011, Ceoffe received the Democratic Party endorsement and campaigned full time after being forced to choose between keeping his job with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor or ending his campaign. He was defeated by Dowd, who received nearly 65 percent of the vote. Ceoffe now works as Section 8 case evaluator for the city housing authority.

Ceoffe congratulated Dowd on his new position,saying the mission of the new non-profit, Allies for Children was “amazing.” However, back in 2011, he predicted to City Paper that Dowd would not be in the position for long, and recalled those doubts this week.

“From things I had seen throughout his first term on council, I just never thought he was in this job for the long-term,” says Ceoffe, who notes Dowd ran against Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in 2009, just half-way through his first term. “He always seemed to be looking for the next step, the next position.

“If I run, I will stick around for the long haul, to make sure the goals and the needs of the district are met. I would also look forward to working with the new administration and new members of council to move this city forward together.”

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