The Raja for county executive campaign is already hitting Democratic opponent Rich Fitzgerald today over a verbal altercation -- after last night's debate -- among Fitzgerald and Raja's campaign consultant Mark Harris (and Harris's wife). Full details on the spat here and here.
Raja campaign manager James Genovese calls Fitzgerald's behavior "erratic and aggressive" and wonders how he'll handle a transit strike or a terrorist attack.
Full Raja statement after the jump:Unhinged, Unstable, Unfit
Rich Fitzgerald's Erratic Behavior on Display at Last Night's Debate,
Calls Into Question Fitzgerald's Fitness to Serve
PITTSBURGH, PA – Rich Fitzgerald's continued erratic and aggressive behavior has once again called into question his ability to lead Allegheny County.
Allegheny County Chief Executive is a serious office that oversees a budget of $1.7 billion and just over 7,000 employees. If Rich Fitzgerald loses control of himself in a political campaign when he claims to be "ahead by over twenty points,"how will Rich handle an actual crisis in our county.
In an extremely concerning statement posted online late last night, Mr. Fitzgerald said to PoliticsPA that he is running a negative personal campaign against Raja to send a message to any future political opponents of either party to think twice before running against him.
And in an unprecedented move at the WTAE debate last night Rich Fitzgerald personally insulted campaign consultant Mark Harris's wife in front on reporters from the Tribune-Review and Post Gazette.
"Rich's odd and off-putting behavior reflect what I have been saying throughout this campaign," said Raja. "I have been a CEO and I know how to remain calm under pressure. If Rich acts this unpredictably and unprofessionally during a campaign, how can we expect him to respond responsibly during times of crisis such a major transit strike, a natural disaster or God forbid a terrorist attack?"
Rich's Unprecedented Erratic Behavior
Thursday, January 27th, 2011 (5:26AM) -Sent an email to Marcellus Shale executives saying "I need money and I need it fast. Its great to hear from Dave Spiegelmeyer about how wonderful I am for
the industry, but what I really need from Dave is money." "If you don't I will be gone in a few months, and the voices you hear won't be your friends."
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 – At a candidate forum at the South Hills Chamber of Commerce Fitzgerald was seemingly out of control, even going as far as to take steps towards Raja whileyelling at high volume.
Monday, October 24th, 2011 – At a candidate forum in Hampton Township with school students, Rich turned his attacks from Republican candidate Raja to an unprecedented attack on two campaign consultants, Mark Harris and Mike DeVanney.
Thursday, October 27th, 2011 – At a Robert Morris University debate in front a group of college students, Rich Fitzgerald reiterated his erratic and unprecedented attack on campaign team members. "When he hired, ya know, two of the sleaziest campaign operatives in this community Mark Harris and Mike DeVanney. We knew where that campaign was going to go."
Saturday, October 29th, 2011 – Rich Fitzgerald took his unprofessionalism a step further comparing Mark Harris and Mike DeVanney to infamous crook Bernie Madoff who stole the life savings of thousands of hard working Americans."The biggest swindle since Bernie Madoff... No its DeVanney and Harris who swindled you, ha, ha, ha, ha." (KDKA – AM 1020)
Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 – PoliticsPA reported an increasingly unhinged Fitzgerald stating that he was running a personal negative campaign this election in order to scare other future political opponents in either party who disagree with his political viewpoints. Fitzgerald again names Raja campaign team members and personally attacks them. (http://www.politicspa.com/allegheny-exec-candidates-fight-to-the-finish/29120/)
Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 – In a disturbing exchange, Mr. Fitzgerald attacked both Mr. Harris and his wife Krista who were waiting to talk to Raja post debate.
Fitzgerald noted that it was Raja's campaign that announced in August that it would be issuing one new attack each day against Fitzgerald until Election Day. Fitzgerald again attacked Raja's political strategist, Mark Harris, as one of the "sleaziest political operatives in town," which led to a testy exchange after the debate.
On his way out of the studio, Fitzgerald walked past Harris, who said to the candidate, "You're attacking me by name?" Fitzgerald said he was. Then Harris' wife, Krista, who was standing next to Harris, shook Fitzgerald's hand and said, "I'm his wife."
Fitzgerald, smiling, responded: "I wouldn't be proud of that."