Photo by Jamie Wiggan McKees Rocks Mayor Jack Muhr accepted the Republican write-in nomination after falling short in the Democratic primary.
By Jamie Wiggan
After falling 33 votes short in the Democratic primary, McKees Rocks Mayor Jack Muhr confirmed he plans to run as the Republican nominee in November.
The long-time local Democratic chairman and former union worker said he has no problem switching parties if it will give him a chance to serve his hometown for another term.
“I would have liked the Democratic [nomination],” he said. “I want to keep in there another four years if we can because we’ve got a lot of good things happening.”
First elected in 2001, Muhr faced three opponents in the primary election this spring, where he lost the Democratic contest to political newcomer David Flick. In the absence of named Republican candidates, Muhr tallied up enough write-ins to secure the GOP nomination.
With Democrats acting as the dominant political force in the borough for more than 70 years, party nominees are usually looked at as presumptive winners following a primary victory.
Should he prevail against Flick in November, though, Muhr said he would continue to prioritize efforts to attract new businesses and grow the borough’s tax base.
He said he’s been in talks with an investor about bringing a new restaurant to McKees Rocks and pointed to a recently opened pizza and cake outlet and a Morgan Chase bank franchise under construction as signs of momentum already building around the downtown district.
Muhr, 82, first got involved in local politics as a school board director for the Sto-Rox district and later served as the borough controller for four terms throughout the 1980s and 90s.
He said one of his proudest accomplishments since taking office was overseeing a new ordinance that allows police to tow cars without valid inspection stickers after giving 48 hours’ notice.
“When I first got in, we had a lot of abandoned vehicles,” he said. “We changed that ordinance – that’s the best thing we ever did.”
Although the job compensates him for less than 20 hours per month, Muhr is in the office five days a week, with much of his time focused on filing citations and preparing for court cases.
Muhr’s public criticism of residents who fail to keep up with property maintenance and other ordinance requirements has drawn backlash at times. A clip where he was seen referring to occupants of an apartment complex as “pigs” after a public meeting in 2019 circulated local news stations and stirred up fury on social media channels.
Muhr defends his approach as necessary for improving the community he grew up in and remains committed to.
“The main thing is to get this town cleaned up,” he said.
“The reason I’m running for mayor and the reason I’m here every day is because this is my hometown.”