Millions of dollars continued to pour into the competitive race for Allegheny County executive, one of the most powerful political offices in southwestern Pennsylvania. 

The stakes are high in this year’s primary, given that the executive can play a major role in setting the county government’s agenda on issues such as air quality, property taxes and the county jail; proposes the county’s $1 billion budget; and fills seats on boards and commissions. The current county executive is Rich Fitzgerald, a term-limited Democrat who will complete his third and final term at the end of this year.

Campaign finance reports filed this week, covering transactions from Jan. 1 to May 1, showed Democratic candidates taking a variety of approaches to corralling community support. Given the area’s Democratic tilt — the party’s candidates often win the county by 20 points or more in general elections — whoever wins the Democratic primary on May 16 will likely take office next year.

John Weinstein, the longtime county treasurer, continued to rely on large donors to fund his campaign. He reported raising more than $1.3 million in contributions greater than $250, including about $100,000 each from Operating Engineers Local 66 and Steamfitters Local 449. His report was filed around 5 p.m. Monday, past the 5 p.m. Friday deadline.

Weinstein, who earlier this year received the local Democratic party’s endorsement, has pitched himself as someone who can use his deep knowledge of county government to provide results for residents.

“I’m the only candidate that could step into the office of chief executive tomorrow and run and operate county government,” he said at a candidate forum in Hampton. “I want to … put all of that knowledge that I have gathered for all these years to work immediately as the county executive. I don’t need any on-the-job training.”

State Rep. Sara Innamorato has relied in her current and past campaigns on small-dollar donors, but they only add up to about 20% of the support she’s received in the race.

Innamorato received a key endorsement and hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from the Service Employees International Union, in particular its health care division, which was a major backer of Ed Gainey’s successful unseating of then-Mayor Bill Peduto during the 2021 Pittsburgh mayoral primary.

Aside from contributions directly from her campaign, Innamorato is also benefiting from $400,000 spent by the Working Families Party on television ads and canvassing. That spending is classified as an independent expenditure, meaning it’s made without consulting the Innamorato campaign.

Innamorato was first elected to the state House in 2018 and is pledging to create a county “for us all.” She would complete a trifecta of younger progressives elected to key local offices, alongside Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and U.S. Rep. Summer Lee.

The fundraising of Michael Lamb, Pittsburgh’s controller and fiscal watchdog, is somewhere in the middle. He reported raising nearly $628,000, mostly in large-dollar contributions, including from executives at real estate and construction firms.

Lamb, who was endorsed by Fitzgerald, has billed himself as a pragmatic reformer who can move ideas from “press conference to practice.” Fitzgerald donated $75,000 directly to Lamb’s campaign and also tallied nearly $105,000 worth of in-kind contributions for television ads.

Meanwhile, attorney Dave Fawcett is self-funding much of his campaign. He raised about $630,000, largely from local attorneys and personally sent in just under $350,000. Fawcett once served on County Council as a Republican, before later switching parties, and said he would hold corporations accountable and construct a riverfront park.

Entrepreneur Will Parker and Theresa Sciulli Colaizzi, a former member of the Pittsburgh school board, both raised significantly less than their fellow Democrats. He appeared to spend $1,484 on lawn signs and ads. Colaizzi put $100 into her campaign, the sole contribution she reported aside from in-kind legal work, only to spend it on a ballot filing fee.

Only one Republican, retired PNC executive Joe Rockey, has entered the race for county executive. About half of the nearly $209,000 he gathered is from a $100,000 personal loan to his campaign.

This story was updated after Weinstein’s campaign finance report became available.

Jon, a copy editor and reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is currently on strike and working as a co-editor of the Pittsburgh Union Progress. Reach him at

Jon Moss

Jon, a copy editor and reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is currently on strike and working as a co-editor of the Pittsburgh Union Progress. Reach him at