Friday, May 24, 2013

Q&A: Darlene Harris May Opt to Run for Mayor as Independent?

If you enjoy following Pittsburgh mayoral politics, you may find this video interesting. 12 times during our 2 minute and 41 second conversation, City Council President Darlene Harris stuck to her four word talking point about her intentions.  Here's a link to WTAE video of my Q&A with Harris about her switching her registration from Democrat to Independent in order to qualify to run for mayor in the fall race.  There are some interesting nuggets hidden KMOO #7 and KMOO #10: her pause before her answer about fundraising and her comments about Mayor Ravenstahl.

I'd reported on Wednesday about the prospect of an Independent mayoral candidate running against Democratic primary winner Bill Peduto  and Republican Josh Wander. That story includes a clip of Councilman Corey O'Connor, whose long-term political future is sometimes the subject of speculation, laughing off the idea he'd jump in to this race.  (He can't and he doesn't want to.  He remains registered a Democrat, he now backs Peduto after staying neutral during the primary, and he's getting married next month.)

Here's a transcript of my Darlene Harris Q&A. I numbered her KMOO count for handy reference.

Q: "Are you planning to run as an independent for mayor in the fall?"

A: "I am just keeping my options open." (1)

Q: "Keeping your options open means what?"

A: "Keeping my options open." (2)

Q: "Did you change your party registration, when did you do that , and explain the significance of that?"

A: "Well, there's been a lot going on in the city, and I wanted to make sure that I left all options open." (3)

Q: "Obviously, if for some reason Mayor Ravenstahl left office, you would become acting mayor. If you were acting mayor, is that the only circumstance under which you could run as an independent?"

A:  "I guess that  would be the only way that you could run as an independent."

Q: "Well, I mean you could, as council president. But *would* you, unless you became acting mayor?"

A: "All I'm doing is leaving my options open." (4)

Q: "So you don't rule out running as an independent for mayor, even  if Mayor Ravenstahl serves out his term?"

A: "Just keeping all options open." (5)

Q: "So , keeping your options open means that you're an independent, you changed your registration,  so that you may run for mayor?"

A: "Just keeping the options open." (6)

Q: "And have you collected money for a mayor's race yet?"

A: "Just keeping the options open." (7)

Q: "Raised any money?"

A:  "(2 second pause) Just keeping the options open." (8)

Q: "Have you gotten any encouragement from anyone to do this?"

A: "I just am leaving all options open." (9)

Q: "Is Mayor Ravenstahl encouraging you to do this?"

A: "Absolutely not."

Q: "Is he discouraging you?"

A: "He actually -- we have  had our times."

Q: "In his discouraging you considering this?"

A: "No. He hasn't encouraged or discouraged me. I don't think he even realizes what has happened."

Q: "By when will you make a final decision on whether or not you'll run for mayor as an independent?"

A: "Uh, time will tell."

Q: "When exactly did you change your registration?"

A: "When it was time to do so."

Q: "In other words, prior to 30 days before the primary?"

A: "Exactly."

Q: "So, you've been strategizing for a while?"

A: "Exactly."

Q: "What should Pittsburghers make of this?"

A: "To keep my options open, and we'll see in the future." (10)

Q: "So, basically this would mean that the primary wasn't the last word, so far as you're concerned,   about what the field will be in the fall."

A: "All I have said is, I've left my options open." (11)

Q: "Are  you leaving your options open, councilwoman?"

A:  "I have left my options open." (12)