PoliticsPA: Morganelli says Onorato supported Corbett in 2008; others disagree

By Alex Roarty
PoliticsPA Staff Writer
roarty@politicspa.com

Former Democratic Attorney General candidate John Morganelli said Thursday that Dan Onorato, the party’s gubernatorial front-runner, secretly supported a Republican during the 2008 attorney general’s race.

The Republican’s name? Tom Corbett, now the GOP frontrunner for the gubernatorial nomination and a possible Onorato opponent in this year’s general election.

But the news came as a surprise to many people, including both campaigns in that year’s race, who each said they didn’t know what Morganelli was talking about.

The story was originally posted by the blog Lehigh Valley Ramblings, and Morganelli, the Northampton County district attorney, e-mailed PoliticsPA and other news outlets to confirm its veracity. The post, quoting sources close to Morganelli, reported the district attorney drove to Pittsburgh several times to attend Onorato fundraisers for his candidacy, only to find the rooms empty when he showed up.

“I did not make a big deal of it at the time,” Morganelli told PoliticsPA. “I just accepted it and moved on. I was not angry, just  disappointed because I think Dan’s support in Allegheny County (rather than his support of Corbett)  and some serious money could have made a difference in a 5 percent loss — changing 2.5 percent in Allegheny.”

Morganelli, who declined to elaborate further on why Onorato didn’t support him, lost to Corbett by nearly seven percentage points in a year that heavily favored Democrats.

Other sources disagreed with the district attorney.

“That’s news to me,” said Brian Nutt, when told of Onorato’s alleged support of Corbett. Nutt managed Corbett’s 2008 re-election as attorney general and is now managing his gubernatorial campaign.

Brian Herman, spokesman for Onorato’s gubernatorial campaign, said supporting Corbett, at that time a potential foe in the governor’s race, isn’t logical.

“We understand his frustration at being defeated, but it’s inaccurate to blame his loss on Dan’s support of his campaign,” Herman said. “It doesn’t make sense.”

Mary Isenhour, executive director of the Democratic Party, said the party has never had a problem receiving help from Onorato.

“Dan Onorato has always been supportive of our efforts here at the party to help other Democrats get elected,” she said.

Morganelli, for his part, said he doesn’t hold any hard feelings toward Onorato.

“I am over it,” he said. “It is just politics, and  I just love politics!”

January 28th, 2010 | Posted in Front Page Stories | 1 Comment

One thought on “PoliticsPA: Morganelli says Onorato supported Corbett in 2008; others disagree”

  1. Andy Johnston says:

    Does anyone else see the irony in the Onorato response? The Onorato campaign says Morganelli’s claims make no sense because, at the time (2008), Corbett was a potential foe in the governor’s race. Well, at the time, Onorato was running for re-election as County Executive and publicly saying he wasn’t looking ahead to the governor’s race. It just goes to show you that Onorato has been running for Governor for years (and raising the money to do it), while telling the people what he wants them to hear!

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