What a mess: A judge once again has delayed the felony theft trial of Chuck McCullough of Upper St. Clair. And that means Republican voters could nominate for Allegheny County chief executive a fella in the May primary who, if convicted, would have to be yanked from the November ballot. Mr. McCullough, you'll recall, won an at-large County Council seat four years ago, after the criminal investigation was publicly known. Democrats are highly amused.There are two more amusing things to be found at the P-G. First some more info from McNulty:
Republican county executive candidate Chuck McCullough got some great news last week.The postponement, we are told, is due to an out of state personal matter Chuck's defense attorney has to attend to.
Just about every story on the attorney and former Allegheny County councilman-at-large mentions two things: that he's awaiting trial on charges he stole money from elderly client, and that the trial is set May 9, just a week before the May 17 primary. Can you take the second half of that out of the boilerplate.
Last week Common Pleas Court Judge Donald Machen granted a postponement of the trial, as requested by defense attorney Patrick Thomassey. They plan to schedule a new one this week.
McCullough was charged in February 2009.
He is running against tech executive and Mt. Lebanon commissioner D. Raja for the party's nod for exec. Tea party official Patti Weaver dropped from the race March 23.
In case you've forgotten the charges, here's the what the P-G had to say in February, 2009:
The Allegheny County councilman accused nearly two years ago of improperly making $40,000 in political contributions from an elderly widow's trust fund has been charged with 23 criminal counts, including theft, misapplication of property, criminal conspiracy and making false reports.His sister's already been convicted of that separate embezzlement case, though Chuck was involved in that case, too.
Charles P. McCullough, who was elected in 2007 after some of the allegations had come to light, was arrested yesterday and released on $20,000 straight bond.
Also charged was Mr. McCullough's sister, Kathleen, who is named in relation to the trust account in the jury presentment. She also was charged in a separate embezzlement case.
And why is this so amusing? From the other report at Early Returns yesterday:
The first poll on the GOP side of the county executive race shows Chuck McCullough with a 6-point lead over D. Raja, with a lot of undecideds and high negatives for both candidates, according to PoliticsPa.From PoliticsPa:
An automated poll of 385 registered Republicans by Municipoll for PP showed McCullough with 30% to 24% for Raja, with 46% undecided and a 5 point MoE. The high negatives? 21% for McCullough and 18% for Raja.
However, McCullough’s pending legal issues seem to have put a dent in his approval ratings. A mere 5.4 percent of voters have a favorable impression of the Councilman, who has been accused of defrauding an elderly widow. (The Post-Gazette reported Sunday that his trial has been postponed until after the May 17 primary). 21 percent have a negative opinion of McCullough, with 73 percent undecided.The local powers that be in the GOP are not happy. From the Trib:
The delay could bring political help or damage to McCullough, 56, a Republican from Upper St. Clair, said GOP Chairman Jim Roddey. But it's definitely bad for Republicans, he said.So with all that bad press (and some serious legal action pending) McCullough is still 6 points up among likely Republican voters and nearly three quarters are still undecided?
If McCullough would defeat D. Raja, 45, of Mt. Lebanon in the primary, but gets convicted of bilking the multimillion-dollar estate of widow Shirley Jordan before the general election in November, he would have to be removed from the ballot.
"Unfortunately, I think there's a real risk," Roddey said. "I don't know what the contingency plan would be."
THAT'S amusing. Even from a non-Democrat like me.