The Raja for county executive campaign is hitting back at Democratic Rich Fitzgerald today by saying he's "pandering to party insiders" tonight instead of showing up on time to a Robert Morris University debate in Moon.
The debate is is set to start at 8 p.m. but Fitzgerald isn't arriving until 8:30 -- the fall "Kennedy-Lawrence" dinner by the Allegheny County Democratic Committee is from 6-9 p.m. Downtown, and Fitzgerald is leading the committee's ticket. (Bob Casey is keynoting.)
UPDATE: The Fitzgerald campaign has responded, saying Raja has done the same thing at least twice, without giving organizers advance notice. Their statement is in full below
The Raja release is in full after the jump:Rich Fitzgerald Tries to Dodge Debate With Raja
Fitzgerald's number one priority is Insiders Not The Voters.
PITTSBURGH, PA --
Tonight at Robert Morris University at 7:30pm there will be a long scheduled debate between Rich Fitzgerald and Raja. This debate is hosted by student groups at Robert Morris and will be televised on Robert Morris' TV Station. The event has been promoted and the terms agreed upon by all parties. The school students even met with the candidates to shoot an intro video for both participants.
Unfortunately, at the last minute Rich Fitzgerald has decided to pander to Party insiders and leave the students at Robert Morris and the Voters in attendance waiting to see if he will fulfill his obligation to the school and the voters.
"Rich is more interested in pandering to Party Insiders and politicians than speaking with the voters of Allegheny County. We encourage him to make the Debate." Said Raja campaign manager James Genovese
From the Fitzgerald campaign:
From Fitzgerald campaign manager Mike Mikus:"Raja attacking Rich Fitzgerald for doing something he did himself. On September 22nd, Raja showed up 45 minutes late for the Mon-Yough Chamber of Commerce candidates forum which was slated to last one hour. Raja was also a half an hour late to the Chamber of Commerce forum in the North Hills on October 4th without providing notice. The difference is that Rich Fitzgerald had the courtesy to give Robert Morris advanced notice of his scheduling issues, while Raja left the organizers of the Mon-Yough and North Hills events in the dark as to his whereabouts.
Raja is desperately grasping at straws in an effort to deflect attention away from the fact that the media has confirmed that he sued 84 of his own employees including one who decided to not work for Raja because he wanted to care for his mother who required cancer surgery. Raja knows that he is losing badly and he is desperately trying to deflect attention away from his abysmal record of trying to get thousands of dollars out of his own workers because they decided to leave his company."
Note: Tonight will be the 15th forum in which Rich Fitzgerald and D. Raja appeared together, with two more joint appearances of the next week.