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State Lawmaker Wins Mayoral Primary in Pittsburgh

May 19, 1993

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A former salesman got his foot in the door at City Hall, winning the all- important Democratic nomination to succeed Mayor Sophie Masloff, Pittsburgh’s self-proclaimed ″Jewish grandmother.″

State Rep. Thomas J. Murphy easily defeated four opponents Tuesday in the Democratic primary and is considered all but certain to win the fall general election against the lone Republican to enter the race, Kathleen Matta.

Pittsburgh hasn’t had a GOP mayor in 60 years.

Murphy got 68 percent of the vote to 27 percent for Jack Wagner, a former City Council president. The other candidates split the rest.

Masloff, a wisecracking 75-year-old who is retiring from office after five years, did not endorse anyone.

Murphy, a 48-year-old former chemical salesman, took his campaign door-to- door in the city of 370,000, sometimes with his son on his back. In his victory speech, he joked that he sent his wife up the steeper hills.

Murphy said he would not raise taxes and would work to reduce crime and improve city employees’ morale. The city has been wracked by labor strife, and polls said crime was voters’ top concern.

Masloff’s wit gave her a reputation as a colorful leader. When Bill Clinton called her during the presidential campaign, she replied, ″Right, and I’m the Queen of Sheba.″ It took some time before she believed it was Clinton on the line.

She also once called rocker Bruce Springsteen ″Bruce Bedsprings″ and the Grateful Dead the ″Dreadful Dead.″

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