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Pittsburgh hasn't had a Republican City Council member in decades, but Rennick Remley plans to change that.

Remley, 35, of Squirrel Hill will face a Democrat and two independents in a race to replace Dan Gilman as representative in Pittsburgh's 8th Council District, which includes Shadyside and parts of Point Breeze, Squirrel Hill and Oakland. Gilman of Squirrel Hill resigned early this month to become Mayor Bill Peduto's chief of staff.

“With the way things have shaken up on the other side with the nomination process and who got in the race, they're going to be pulling three different ways,” Remley said. “I think we have a legitimate shot.”

City Republican committee members from the 8th District last week nominated Remley for the special election on March 6.

The Democratic nominee is Sonja Finn, 38, a Point Breeze chef and restaurant owner.

Marty Healey, 54, of Shadyside and Erika Strassburger, 35, of Squirrel Hill are running as independent candidates. Healey and Strassburger both sought the Democratic nomination but lost to Finn.

Remley, corporate relations manager at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and a former political operative, faces a stiff challenge in a district that's elected Democrats for generations.

The last Republican to run for the seat — the late Mordecai Treblow — received only 10 percent of the vote in 2013. Gilman, a Democrat, won with more than 89 percent.

Remley served as deputy campaign manager for D. Raja, who chairs the Allegheny County Republican Committee, in a race for county executive in 2011 and has worked on campaigns in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“We've had single-party leadership and single-party rule here since the 1930s, and what has that gotten us?” Remley said. “Water we can't drink and streets that we struggle to get plowed.”

He said he plans to announce policy ideas and begin a door-knocking campaign in coming weeks.

“If elected I will at least be the voice of dissent and hopefully be able to work with the other council people to solve the problems that we have,” he said.

“I hope to bring some fresh ideas.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, or on Twitter @bobbauder.




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