Looking Ahead to Rich Fitzgerald vs. Mark Patrick Flaherty

The most deviously powerful political office in Southwest Pennsylvania is up for grabs this year, and two candidates are going mano-a-mano, operative-a-operative for the Democratic nomination to it.

With three months remaining, here is literally everything I know about the two candidates for Allegheny Cah-nee Executive:


1) Has an Economics degree and a Law degree from Duke University.

2) Elected Allegheny County Controller in 2004.

3) Name appears in a conspicuously large, bold font on black and gold (or black and yellow?) Weights and Measures Division stickers on all gas pumps and grocery store checkout scales.

4) Utilized campaign PAC money to broadcast “public service announcement” commercials stressing the importance of these stickers.

5) From time to time releases audits that have been a bit more critical of the status quo than that which we have heard from his party colleagues on County Council for example.

6) Nephew to Peter F. Flaherty, Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh from 1970-1977

7) Rumored to be the preferred option of the Ravenstahl administration and its supporters.

8) Says he wanted to conduct property assessments “a couple years ago” to “get them over with” and seems to oppose efforts to obstruct them any further.


1) Has a Mechanical Engineering degree from CMU.

2) Elected to County Council in 2000 and is presently its President.

3) Has supported County Executive Dan Onorato publicly in pretty much all things.

4) That support notably includes past opposition to conducting property assessments, and further efforts to obstruct them into the future despite a court order citing inequities.

5) Says western Pennsylvania is poised to become the “energy capital of the world” — a bit of bravado which reminds me more than a little of “Drill Baby Drill” — although he also says he favors a “reasonable” extraction tax (though that is an issue of state law).

6) Co-sponsored the county’s LGBTQ employment and housing anti-discrimination ordinance.

7) In addition to Congressman Mike Doyle, seems to be endorsed by most if not all of the Harris majority on Pittsburgh City Council.

8) Has at least a couple dozen beautiful red-headed daughters.

Am I missing anything? Is anything at stake here besides how soon we are likely to see property reassessments, and whose political factions will see their fortunes (or their operatives’ fortunes) enriched? Is anybody on the Republican side a likely concern going forward?

21 thoughts on “Looking Ahead to Rich Fitzgerald vs. Mark Patrick Flaherty

  1. Green Meanie

    As a Pollock, I'm dreading St. Patrick's Day even more than usual this year–Fitzgerald and Flaherty, not to mention Corey, Judy and the Spirit of Bob O'Connor.

  2. Green Meanie

    Of course, I meant “Polack” (according to Wikipedia's spelling), and not the esteemed Squirrel Hill political and real estate family.

  3. Bram Reichbaum

    Between the parties, there's probably a very BIG difference in who is County Executive — you're talking about the size and scope of transit, economic development and a LOT of social services. Within each party — I don't know, you probably really want to avoid thieves and incompetants, is the main thing.

  4. Anonymous

    The problem is between fitzgerald and flaherty there is not much difference. Niether of them are particularly competent. I'm not sure about their ethics/honesty.

  5. Anonymous

    I think both are honest enough. But I think you hit it on the head- Mark has been a “bit more critical of the status quo” while Rich is the status quo. If you are happy with Onorato part 2 vote for Rich. If you want something a bit different vote Mark. If want something insane vote for any of the R candidates. But both Mark and Rich are honest in my mind.
    – Bob


    How honest can you try to be? Being a politician, everyone thinks you lie anyway. Truth is Flaherty is at least trying to find a solution to assessments. If you are not happy with him trying to fix the issue, you're not too bright.. Not everyone is going to like it, but deal with assessments now before someone else pushes it on us!! It's about time me have a County Exec who is proactive about getting something done!!! Rich is a smart guy, but we need an economic wizard, not an engineer to figure out the mess we are in… Besides, the economic wizard has his certs plus bar, the engineer doesn't even have his PE.. Think about that.

  7. Anonymous

    I hapened to catch a little of Fitzgerald on an am radio program this afternoon going head to head with a lady from W&K steel. To be honest I know little about the facts. What I did observe is that she ate his lunch verbally, and his explanations of his motivations and actions appeared illogical in the face of the facts as they both agreed to them. I will certainly be paying more attention to this story and Mr. Fitzgerald. Based on this alone I have reservations about him in an important political position.

  8. Bram Reichbaum

    Mark Rauterkus – Well if you just want to be tribal about it. I think it's interesting that one was at least marginally close at one time to being a Wall Street Investment Banker [Flaherty], and the other tried to get an engineering firm off the ground that Google no longer finds any reference to [save Fitzgerald bios].

  9. Anonymous

    Not to mention the fact that Richie has endorsements listed on his web site that aren't really endorsing-contact SEIU and ERDO and Char Val dems, and Ross Dems. He is pandering to the liberal dems on pro choice–really? Hey, Richie, you have eight kids and a Roman Catholic. Pro choice? Excommunication coming your way! You are selling out our environment on Marcellus Shale? You accepted money from Mar.Shale goups?? AND, let's not forget, you will “GO TO JAIL” over reassessments. Some leader you are! You couldn't come up with a solution even if your non PE certified engineering education was on the line! Doyle saved you during endorsement day as did the bus drivers-look where they are now. Pat McMahon and you must have dinner together. He is protecting his legacy costs (at the expense of his union) like you are protecting your apolitical posturing. You couldn't stand for a single cause on your own belief because all you want is to trick for votes.. I say you are a prostitute for Doyle.. County Employees should decide who will be the next CE. We know the real you and you are not a good leader.

  10. Anonymous

    So, why does it matter where the candidates for County Executive reside? The City of Pittsburgh? The Town of Mount Lebanon? The Borough of Crafton? The City of McKeesport? They are ALL within Allegheny County. Until you hillbillies in Allegheny County realize that you need to consolidate approximately 130 municipalities into something something more fiscally responsible (instead of the everlasting bitching and moaning that is hallmark of Pittsburgh), then you deserve the government you have. Both political leaders and citizens in Allegheny County need “to get a set” and face up to the fact that the current governmental model does not work.

  11. Anonymous

    I just received this information recently:

    Rich Fitzgerald is attempting to snag the Allegheny County Chief Executive office with bogus ads that portray his opponent as “too cozy” with the gas drilling industry when this is totally untrue, based on information in a Fitzgerald email obtained by Mark Patrick Flaherty's campaign.

    Fitzgerald, who has promoted drilling in the Marcellus Shale as a way to make Pittsburgh “the energy capital of the world,” in January blasted an email to Katie Klaber, president and executive director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, copied to dozens of oil company executives, demanding contributions if they want “friends” in the Allegheny County Chief Executive Office.

    “I love going to your wine and cheese receptions to hear what a great advocate I am for the natural gas industry,” Fitzgerald wrote in the Jan. 27 email. “You have the courage to take a stand and stand up for what's right. Well if you like that, stand up for me now. Because if you don't I will be gone in a few months, and the voices you hear won't be your friends.”

    Other excepts:

    “The next Chief Executive of Allegheny County will either be me or Mark Flaherty. If you want the leader of this region to be someone who is clueless about natural gas and your industry, continue to sit on your hands that is exactly what will happen.”

    “My campaign has gotten next to nothing from Range, next to nothing from CNX/Consol, next to nothing from Atlas, next to nothing from US Steel. And absolutely nothing from Chesapeake, Cabot, Talisman or anyone else. I love going to the expensive Captains of Industry' parties in New York City, but would rather have the “Captains” put their money behind a candidate who will promote the growth of industry.'

    “I need money and I need it fast. Its great to hear from Dave Spiegelmeyer about how wonderful I am for the industry, but what I really need from Dave is money. Not 'I wish I could be at your event, but I'm out of town. Just know we're behind you'. Well if you are, put your money where your mouth is and help fund this campaign.”

    Money from natural gas industry PACS started flowing into Fitzgerald's campaign within days of his email, as noted in his finance report on file with the Allegheny County Elections Division.

    Also soon after the email, Fitzgerald hired EIS Solutions, a firm based in Grand Junction, Colorado, that specializes in public relations and promotions for the energy industry, to manage his campaign for chief executive. EIS Solutions Vice President Mike Mikus has the co-role of Fitzgerald campaign manager. The Fitzgerald campaign paid EIS Solutions a $21,000 consulting fee for Mikus' services in the campaign, finance reports released Friday show. Mikus runs EIS Solutions' Pennsylvania office, according to Wade Haerle, president of EIS Solutions.

    “Twice in a debate on Monday Mr. Fitzgerald said he would keep the Marsellus Shale industry at 'arms length,” Flaherty campaign spokesman David Brown said. “His email and actions suggest he has a fuzzy definition of arm's length.”


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