Thursday, October 04, 2007

Allegheny County Scandal update

Earlier this year, I was very interested in following the saga of Republican Charles McCullough as he was a trustee for an elderly suburban Pittsburgh widow who suffered from dementia. As trustee, he signed checks for $40,000 in political donations to four local Republicans. This behavior of large scale donations was unprecendented for either the widow or her late husband, and thankfully the four recipients as soon as they were told of the suspicious circumstances of the donations, returned the money.

Mr. McCullough was also running for the Republican nomination for the Allegheny County at large seat on the County Council. He won the nomination and is running for the general election. The county charter provides for two at large seats on the fifteen member council and prohibits those seats from being filled by people with identical party registration. For the two seats which are elected concurrently, voters get a single vote. This arrangement pretty much guarantees a Democratic and Republican at-large victories.

However it is repugnant that someone so overtly slimy is running and looks to have a lock (at least until any potential future indictment)for county government. Democrats can not run for the seat due to the county charter, but a third party candidate can run for the seat.

A local perpetual candidate, David Tessitor is running for the seat. I very seldom pay any attention to the half dozen locally ineffectual gadflies, but this is a situation where a viable third party run could be made with a viable shot of victory. The odds are still long as he needs significant Democratic and Republican cross-over, and odd year municipal elections in Allegheny County are the province of super voters and straight party line voters. But for once, he is worth checking out

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