Allegheny Dems Endorse Weinstein, Dugan For Key Posts

Allegheny Dems endorse Weinstein, Dugan

In a large turnout on Sunday, Allegheny County Democrats gave their endorsements for County Executive and District Attorney to John Weinstein and Matt Dugan.

Weinstein, the County Treasurer, and Dugan, the County’s chief public defender, received the most votes amongst the County Democratic committee members. Weinstein received 545 of the 1,410 votes cast or 38.65 percent to outdistance state representative Sara Innamorato who garnered 457 votes or 32.41%.

City Controller Michael Lamb was third in the balloting with 391 votes or 27.73 percent, while Dave Fawcett, the only other candidate to pay the fee to seek the county endorsement, was a distant fourth.

Dugan received 820 of a possible 1,398 votes or 58.66 percent, while current County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. pulled in 578 votes or 41.34%.

Committee-endorsed candidates also included Bethany Hallam and DeWitt Walton for County Council seats, Rachael Heisler for City Controller, and Barb Warwick and Deb Gross for Pittsburgh City Council seats.

There are clouds that hang over the endorsement of Weinstein, however. On Friday, he received the backing of the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council, an umbrella group of local unions. Weinstein needed to achieve a minimum of two-thirds majority to earn the nod, a threshold he achieved.

Yesterday, Weinstein garnered a little more than 1/3 of the vote.

The same union opted to support Zappala and Joanna Doven over Dugan and Hallam.

The Allegheny County Democratic Committee (ACDC) is made up of committee members elected from each voting precinct in the county. The endorsement is not binding on voters, but it represents a seal of approval by party leaders, whose favored candidates appear on “slate cards” handed out at polls on primary day.

Turnout on “Endorsement Day” was nearly 75 percent – among the highest that many veteran committee members could recall.

How much weight the endorsement carries with it among the rank-and-file Democrats remains to be seen.

Last May, many Democratic organizations, including the County party, backed Pittsburgh attorney Steve Irwin over state Rep. Summer Lee for the 12th Congressional District nomination – a race won by Lee who went on to Washington in January.

Just four of the candidates for County Executive paid the $7,500 fee required to seek the party’s endorsement – Weinstein, Innamorato, Lamb and Fawcett.

Fawcett sent out a statement on Sunday morning prior to the meeting in which he said, “Many strides have been taken under new leadership to improve the usefulness of endorsement process. But there can be no denying that it is still very heavily weighted in favor of career politicians and against those not currently in office. “

Another candidate – Liv Bennett – stated why she did not pay the required fee.

“The ACDC fees are an example of how public office has been designed for people of means and not those who are impoverished or the working class,” she tweeted. “In order for me to seek the endorsement on both seats (County Executive & County Council) it’s almost as much as a County Councilor’s yearly salary. I know under the new ACDC leadership, they are trying to make things more equitable but there is more that needs to be done.”

The last time that Allegheny Democrats have seen a battle for their endorsement was 12 years ago when current County Executive Rich Fitzgerald received the nod over challenger Mark Patrick Flaherty.

In other notable races, the committee also endorsed Erica Rocchi Brusselars for County Treasurer, Patrick Sweeney for Common Pleas Court Judge and Corey O’Connor for a full term as county controller.

2 Responses

  1. But wasn’t the GOP crook who was DA 50 years ago also named Dugan? He had a safe full of cash and married a Mellon to cover up his gay identity. Robert Dugan? Or is my memory failing me?

  2. I hereby award a Papal blessing upon the Democrats for finally rejecting the Satanic Zappala mafia in the Allegheny County District Attorney race.
    Since the 1920’s, the Bazzano/ Chuckie Porter/ Zappala mafia has held PITTSBURGH politics hostage. No More! The last mobster is now exiting the building. Good riddance.

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