Things are starting to get fidgety two weeks before the primary.
The Rich Fitzgerald camp is accusing fellow Democrat Mark Patrick Flaherty of skipping forums on the county executive race (SEE UPDATE BELOW), and in the race to replace Flaherty as county controller Valerie McDonald Roberts is reportedly picking up the endorsement of current executive Dan Onorato.
The Onorato pick isn't all that suprising if you the history between the exec and the Wagner clan (Roberts is running against Chelsa Wagner and George Matta for the Dem nomination; see Dan Majors' setup story here). Not only did Onorato fight with Jack Wagner, Chelsa's uncle, in the gubernatorial primary last year, but the two have a feud going back to a nasty special election for state Senate way back in 1994.
Here's the story on the Onorato nod from PoliticsPa.
Meanwhile Team Fitzgerald says Flaherty has skipped six forums in a row, which they claim is because the controller doesn't want to debate his office's budget. “Voters deserve an opportunity to hear how both candidates will address issues that matter to our families and our region,” Fitzgerald said in a statement.
We haven't yet heard back from the Flaherty team, but a schedule released last week by his campaign had him going to at least three county exec forums over the next week, with the next one set for tomorrow at lunchtime before the Pittsburgh Rotary Club.
UPDATE: Flaherty spokesman Dave Brown says his candidate has appeared with Fitzgerald nine times the past couple months, and the criticisms show the Fitzgerald camp is "in panic mode":
“The facts are that Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Fitzgerald have appeared side-by-side at at least nine forums and debates from March through now, and they have three major appearances together in the next six days.”
“Such deliberately bogus political attacks signal Mr. Fitzgerald knows his vague campaign message is not working, he's running way behind Mr. Flaherty, and time is running out,” Brown said.
Full statement from Brown and list of forums after the jump:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 3, 2011
Fitzgerald hits panic button, launches bogus attacks on Flaherty
A "deliberately bogus political attack" against Allegheny County Chief Executive candidate Mark Patrick Flaherty signals his opponent's campaign "is in panic mode," Flaherty's campaign spokesman said today.
Referring to a news release issued earlier today by Rich Fitzgerald claiming Flaherty doesn't want to attend debates and forums with Fitzgerald, Flaherty spokesman David Brown said: "The facts are that Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Fitzgerald have appeared side-by-side at at least nine forums and debates from March through now, and they have three major appearances together in the next six days."
"Such deliberately bogus political attacks signal Mr. Fitzgerald knows his vague campaign message is not working, he's running way behind Mr. Flaherty, and time is running out," Brown said.
Previous debates and forums where Flaherty and Fitzgerald have appeared together include:
14th Ward candidates' forum; 19th Ward candidates' forum; Robert Morris University "Town Hall" debate; Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce forum; Executive Womens' Forum; Building Owners and Managers Association of Pittsburgh forum; Allegheny League of Municipalities forum; B-Pack forum; and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board meeting.
Still scheduled are: Pittsburgh Rotary Club forum (Wednesday), League of Women Voters forum (Friday) and the African-American Chamber of Commerce forum (Monday).