The Democratic mayor of Pittsburgh is facing two major independent challengers in tomorrow’s election, Franco Harris and Kevin Acklin.
Our own Darcy G. Richardson commented at Ballot Access News:
An “Immaculate Election,” as Jim Riley so delightfully put it, is not beyond the realm of possibility. Harris’s uphill campaign continues to pick up steam as evidenced by yesterday’s enthusiastic endorsement from the Iron Workers Union, representing 1,300 members in western Pennsylvania.
Despite a self-imposed limit on campaign contributions, the Princeton-educated Harris, who later earned a law degree from Pitt and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon’s prestigious Tepper School of Business, has raised nearly as much as the incumbent Democratic mayor, receiving $113,611 in contributions while spending $176,761 during the 120-day reporting period ending October 19. Kevin Acklin, the other independent hoping to make history next Tuesday, raised an even more impressive $135,290 and spent $130,923 during the same period, while Mayor Luke Ravenstahl — the youngest mayor of a major American city in U.S. history — raised $127,496.
While this remains a relatively low-key race, far from the radar of most national reporters and pundits, the two independent candidates have been campaigning doggedly, with both men going door-to-door in various Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Both challengers are also running hard-hitting radio and TV ads, including one by Harris that features footage of President Obama asking, “Where’s Luke?” — a brilliantly clever play on Ravenstahl’s failure to show up at numerous civic events.
The potential for an upset in this race grows by the day, especially given the fact that legendary NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris — an Obama delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention — has been actively campaigning for his namesake, including knocking on hundreds of doors with his son in some of the city’s working-class and poorer neighborhoods.
While the Harris name remains magic in the Steel City, rumors that John Madden, Jack Tatum and a few other revenge-minded ex-Oakland Raiders will be stumping for Mayor Ravenstahl in the campaign’s waning days have so far proven untrue.