PITTSBURGH — Marlin Woods gathered with supporters at the Highland Park Reservoir, not far from his East Liberty home, to announce Thursday he’s jumping into the race for mayor of Pittsburgh as an Independent candidate. Before the event, he spoke with Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 about why he wants the job and what he believes he can bring to the office</p?
“This is the responsibility that falls upon my shoulders with the burden of solution through service. And service is merely defined as raising the quality of life for another,” Woods said.
Woods is a motivational speaker and business consultant who’s also worked as a minister.
“My product is leadership. That is what I am here to implement into this region — to make an impartation of leadership. That I can raise the quality of life for each resident and the small business community of this great city,” Woods said.
His focus, he says is on listening to Pittsburghers. Pressed for specific issues, he said, “Raising small business up on the other side of COVID-19 in a post-COVID era, getting people back to work.”
Democratic mayoral candidate Ed Gainey’s campaign says Gainey welcomes Woods and any other candidates and looks forward to a positive campaign. Gainey says he’ll continue to talk about his vision for uniting the city and building a Pittsburgh for all.
Mayor Bill Peduto, who lost to Gainey in the primary, declined to speculate on how an Independent candidacy might shape the general election race.
“I don’t think my credentials on handicapping races right now is at its highest stock value, so I’ll leave it up to the voters. But Ed Gainey earned the Democratic Party’s endorsement I will be there to help to support his campaign,” Peduto told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4.
Tony Moreno, who lost in the Democratic mayoral primary but won the Republican primary with write-in votes, hasn’t said yet if he’ll run as a Republican in the fall.
Given the strong Democratic voter registration advantage in the City of Pittsburgh, Gainey is considered likely to become the first Black candidate to be elected mayor. Woods does not believe his own entry into the race as an Independent might divide the votes of Black Pittsburghers and aid Moreno.
“The answer is no. That’s a false narrative. That’s a conversation for 1960, not for 2021. People deserve a choice,” Woods said.