PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Retired Pittsburgh Police officer Tony Moreno officially accepted the Republican nomination for the mayor of the city on Tuesday.
The former officer accepted the nomination, as he and his wife ceremonially changed their party registration to Republican.
“In appreciation for their vowed support, Patty and I made a ceremonial gesture and registered as Republican voters in the city of Pittsburgh,” Moreno said. “The Republican party voluntarily selected me as their nominee, while the Democratic party establishment decided to reject my campaign for another career politician that wants to divide this city.”
Moreno said that changing his party registration from Democrat to Republican doesn’t impact what he stands for or the change he plans to champion as mayor.
“Make no mistake, the political banner that I will be running under will never change who I am — it doesn’t change my vision and plan for this city,” Moreno said. “It merely reflects the letter next to my name on the ballot. The Republican voters and the Democrats who voted for me in the primary are united in our frustration with our city government. From day one, my principles, my platform, and my plan have been only to serve everyone in this city. That will NOT change, even though my party registration has changed.”
While Moreno trailed behind both Gainey and Peduto during the Democratic Primary, the former officer received nearly 1400 write-in votes from Republicans. Under state law, a candidate is qualified to accept the party’s nomination if the write-in number surpasses 250.
Moreno told Channel 11 that uniting the city, and improving both public works and public safety are his top priorities. The Republican candidate said that he does not support defunding the police, but wants to see the department improve by way of community policing.
“We have to make sure that the police administration is in line with the laws and rules and regulations, that they’re not serving a mayor, that they’re serving the community,” he said.
Gainey’s campaign has also focused on police reform.
A spokesperson for the representative’s campaign sent Channel 11 the following statement following Moreno’s announcement:
“Rep Gainey welcomes Mr. Moreno to the race, and looks forward to a positive general election campaign in which he’ll continue to talk about his vision for uniting our City and building a Pittsburgh for all.”
Rep. Gainey would become the city’s first black mayor if winning the General Election in November.