What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 20, 2009

More On Mike Turzai

I just wanted to fill out some background on the comments from this blog post.

From Roll Call:

By most accounts, Turzai’s 1998 bid for the seat against then-Rep. Ron Klink (D) was a less-than-stellar campaign. He lost to Klink, 36 percent to 64 percent, in a district that two years later gave 50 percent of the vote to Bush.

During that first campaign for the 4th district seat, Turzai was derailed by two major publicity mishaps. Two of his supporters got into an altercation with Klink on the sidewalks of Pittsburgh while trying to videotape him for a negative campaign advertisement. Klink also blasted Turzai for sending a helicopter to take aerial footage of his home as an invasion of his privacy.

Here's the P-G story from 1998. First the helicopter story:
In the past few days, campaign workers for Republican Mike Turzai have flown over U.S. Rep. Ron Klink's Westmoreland County home in a helicopter and have twice attempted to videotape him.
But the bigger story was the stalking:
The second videotaping incident Downtown on Wednesday prompted calls to Pittsburgh police, with each political camp saying its supporters had been accosted by people from the other side.

Turzai said yesterday that his supporters were only trying to force Klink to give them some straight answers to a "series of questions" on legitimate campaign issues when they approached him with a video camera and microphone outside the Duquesne Club, Downtown.

But Klink's chief of staff, Joseph Brimmeier, said sex was the only subject of the only questions asked by the two men from the Turzai camp who came after him and Klink.

"'Ron, tell us about your sexual affairs, Ron, tell us who you're having sex with on your staff ...' that's all they were asking," Brimmeier said.

TO BE COMPLETELY FAIR, Turzai apologized for the conduct of his campaign workers a few days later:

Saying "we were wrong to do what we did," Republican congressional candidate Mike Turzai apologized to his opponent, U.S. Rep. Ron Klink, for allowing his campaign workers to accost Klink at public appearances and attempt to videotape Klink and his home.

In a news conference last night at his Cranberry campaign headquarters, a somber, husky-voiced Turzai read a brief statement in which he apologized to Klink and Klink's family for the conduct of his campaign workers over the past week. He also said he regretted not apologizing sooner.

"In all earnestness, I've wanted to do this since last week, but I didn't. I have no excuses. We were wrong to do what we did," Turzai said, reading from handwritten notes scrawled on a yellow legal pad. "I am fully responsible for the actions of this campaign, and I regret what happened. While I assumed responsibility last week, I didn't apologize and I should have."

This was ten years ago, by the way.

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