The race for the Democratic nomination for Allegheny County Executive has expanded to five with announcements by Dave Fawcett and Sara Innamorato in the last 24 hours.
The pair joins Michael Lamb, Liv Bennett and Erin McClelland in the ever-growing field.
Fawcett, 64, an Oakmont attorney with the Reed Smith law firm, has first-hand experience in county government, serving two terms as an at-large representative to the county council. A former member of the Republican Party, he switched registrations to Democrat more than a decade ago because of what he says is the GOP’s increasing polarization. As a litigator, Fawcett fought a winning battle against West Virginia coal baron Don Blankenship that led all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which handed down a landmark decision — following a ruling for Blankenship by West Virginia’s decidedly friendly top court — that said judges should not hear cases in which a party donated heavily to their election campaigns.
Innamorato, 36, who just won reelection to the state House in the 21st District, is one of the key figures in a progressive movement that has had an impact at almost every level of government in Allegheny County. “We will work with municipal leaders all over the County to provide solutions that we know get to the root causes of violent crime,” she said this morning at her announcement. “We will lean into mental health supports, youth programming, and investing in building strong communities that keep everyone safe.” She was endorsed by Pittsburgh mayor Ed Gainey.
Bennett, a County Council member since 2020, says she was partly inspired to run by her desire to see the county enact an independent police review board. Before entering politics, she gained prominence in the local activist community, where she has worked with organizations including Take Action Mon Valley, the Alliance for Police Accountability, and the Black Equity Coalition.
McClelland, 47, who has worked as a consultant providing project management in the county’s Department of Human Services, was the first entrant in the derby. She previously worked in substance-abuse counseling, but may be most widely known for two unsuccessful campaigns to unseat Republican Congressman Keith Rothfus. “I am running on something you’ve never seen before: I’m running on operational integrity and just doing the people’s work and being a little bit better tomorrow than we are today,” she said.
Lamb, 60, has served as the City of Pittsburgh controller since 2008.
Innamorato, Bennett or McClelland would be the first woman to hold the County Executive position.
Current County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is term-limited after 12 years in office.