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KDKA Investigates: Little City Council Race Draws Big Cash

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- She's running for City Council, and she has the support of the mayor, the unions and major developers, all of whom have given generously to her burgeoning campaign.

Erika Strassburger is proud of it.

"I think it shows I have a diverse set of supporters," said Strassburger. "People who agree that I'm ready to be in this position, that I'm ready to be councilwoman."

But one of her opponents, Sonja Finn, says all that cash raises warning signs.

"This is a democracy, and elected officials should only be beholden to the people, and is that possible when we allow such large contributions from PACs and special interest groups?" said Finn.

In just three weeks, Strassburger raised $91,200, while Finn raised just $12,600, an amount comparable to the other two candidates in the race, Martin Healey and Rennick Remley.

Even though Finn is the endorsed Democrat, the political PACs of Mayor Peduto and his chief of staff, Dan Gilman, contributed $5,000 a piece.

"I think the fact that I have a good relationship with Chief of Staff Gilman and Mayor Peduto would demonstrate that I would be able to get things done. I have a lot of fresh ideas, I have a lot of new ideas," said Strassburger.

Still, Finn questions why Strassburger got thousands from out-of-state labor unions and from developers like Walnut Capital, which is currently asking the city zoning board for a variance to expand their Bakery Square project.

"Is that a contribution or is that an investment?" said Finn.

The election is two weeks away.

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