In the special election to replace District 7 City Councilor Patrick, Deb Gross been racking up a series of endorsements. But these have come as little surprise, since they have been from unions like the city's paramedics or the Service Employees union -- organizations that have previously been part of the progressive coalition lined up behind Gross ally Bill Peduto. But this morning, Gross announced backing from the city's Firefighters union -- which was foursquare behind Jack Wagner, Peduto's rival in the mayoral primary this spring. (Text of the full announcement is below.)
As noted here a couple months ago, the District 7 race is an early test of how much Peduto's primary victory will be able to reshape local politics. And as our friend Tim McNulty noted a short time ago the firefighters' move may be a sign that even unions who previously opposed Peduto see a new landscape. And Tony Ceoffe, Gross' chief rival in this race, may be paying a price.
Still, a caveat: Ceoffe ran against Dowd in 2011, and he missed the endorsement that time, too. So this might not be as huge a sea change as it first appears.
In any case, Ceoffe is fighting gamely on. His campaign Facebook page and Twitter account have little in the way of endorsements to announce, but tout numerous community gatherings instead. I don't recall Ceoffe being quite so engaged when he ran in 2011. But of course back then, he had more more supporters in his corner ... and it still wasn't enough.
The announcement from Team Gross follows:
Pittsburgh, PA – Deb Gross, the Democratic nominee for Pittsburgh's 7th Council District, has been endorsed by the Pittsburgh Firefighters Local 1.
"Her leadership, experience, and passion for our City neighborhoods are what make Deb Gross the best candidate to be our newest member on City Council," said Darrin Kelly, Political Action Committee Chair of the Firefighters Local 1. "After conversations with candidates in this race, Deb stands apart and her leadership is what we need for our city. We are proud to endorse Deb, to give her our full support, and we look forward to working with her in the future."
"I am grateful to have earned the support of the Firefighters," said Deb Gross. "I look forward to working hard with them on the campaign trail and to a partnership that will help to make sure that we are building neighborhoods that are safe and great places to live and raise a family."