Post-Gazette Pulls Mustio Endorsement Over Mailer

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Saturday withdrew its endorsement of Rep. Mark Mustio, citing his campaign’s use of “a racist appeal” in the form of a questionable mailer, and backed his opponent Raja instead. The apparently unprecedented move follows weeks of back-and-forth between the two rivals in the race to replace retiring Sen. John Pippy.

Wrote the Post-Gazette:

Mr. Mustio followed that up by crossing a line this week with an insidious mailing aimed at stirring up prejudices about Mr. Raja’s foreign birth. Even though Mr. Raja is known simply as Raja or D. Raja in his business dealings, personal life and politics, Mr. Mustio displayed prominently his opponent’s full given name –Dakshinamurthy — in a campaign flier.

We don’t buy Mr. Mustio’s explanation that he used the long name because it appears on lawsuits in which Mr. Raja was involved. The subtext is clear. In fact, Mr. Mustio makes it even clearer in his newest, so-called positive television ad in which the narrator intones, “Mark Mustio. He’s one of us, not a politician.”

This breach of decency, this appeal to voters’ base instincts, shows Mark Mustio to be a seriously flawed candidate who will stoop to racism to get elected. He’s not one of us.

The paper proceeded to endorse Raja, saying despite his “fuzzy” answers during his ed board interview, “this character issue trumps all. Besides, Mr. Raja is smart and would learn quickly in Harrisburg.”

The campaign has been very negative, with Raja blasting Mustio for his 2005 vote in favor of the legislative pay raise, and Mustio criticizing Raja’s business practices, including outsourcing.

But as Mustio escalated the racially-themed materials, Allegheny Republicans have been pressuring him to ease up. Rep. Tim Murphy, an early Mustio backer, publicly complimented Raja’s commitment to the community – a seeming rejection of the outsourcing charge.

Shortly after, Mustio publicly called for a ceasefire and unilaterally pulled his negative TV ads. He replaced with a positive spot (view here).

County GOP Chairman Jim Roddey agreed, and called on both campaigns to lay down their arms and stop the negative attacks by 3pm Friday.

He singled out Mustio’s ads in remarks to the Post-Gazette:

“I became very disappointed and very distressed at the way things deteriorated” on both sides, he said, noting that he had received comments about the ads from number of people. “However, the negative ads by Mark Mustio were slanted so that if you had any prejudice against Indian-Americans, it would be inflated.”

Roddey added that he does not believe Mustio is racist, but that the tone of the advertisements was “inappropriate” and not a good reflection for the Republican Party.

Raja’s campaign says it received Roddey’s ceasefire request too late Friday to alter its ads – one of which is positive, the other of which is a split positive/negative that defends against the outsourcing charge (view here). They will air at least through the weekend.

The third GOP candidate, Sue Means, is a homeschooling advocate. While Mustio and Raja have collectively spent over $1 million on the race, she lacks the financial resources to run ads. There is no Democrat on the ballot, but local activists are running a write-in campaign.

April 21st, 2012 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 16 Comments

16 thoughts on “Post-Gazette Pulls Mustio Endorsement Over Mailer”

  1. Judy Brown says:

    Mustio and Raja have both been dishonest. Elect a dishonest candidate you get a dishonest legislator

  2. Kathleen says:

    What nonsense! One has to be suspicious of a newspaper that stoops so low. Then,again, this latest tactic by the MSM only further confirms reasons why papers are going the way of the dinosaurs.

    “Mom Voter” – the venom she spews is, unfortunately, common among those who resort to name-calling when they have no facts to back their claims.

  3. CGleeson says:

    That mailer crossed the line and is an embarrassment to the Republican party. Mustio is not only running for the state senate seat but also for his legislative seat again which based upon his actions could not be in jeopardy he should do the party a favor and resign

  4. ILikeSmith says:

    I think I would also be standing with him. You would be surprised how many of us “crazy” conservatives exist in this country.

  5. Dear GET OUT OF MY PARTY says:

    I find it interesting the “litmus” test you use to determine a true Republican. Please tell your definition of “Conservative values.” I am sure that if you would apply your definition to all 3 of the Senate candidates none would live up to your standards! You would be all alone!

  6. ILikeSmith says:

    @Party pooper, I must say you are confused. Feinberg was a Rand Paul staffer and is endorsed by the Paul/Tea Party wing of the party. He also was born and raised in Peters Township.
    @Mom, I guess I am nuts, but that is fine.

  7. Party pooper says:

    Notice how the ones howling about liberty and personal freedom now want to start kicking people out of their party for being too independent minded. If Sam Roher had one once of dignity he’d stop pretending he’s some kind of conservative reformer when he voted for the midnight pay raise and his own bigger public pension. And Feinberg- c’mon, he just moved here a month ago and thinks he’s deserving of my vote for a seat in Congress because he’s mad at the DC “establishment” Feinberg is a DC bureaucrat paid with my tax dollars – he IS establishment. They all are cut from the same cloth. Vote Ron Paul

  8. bobguzzardi says:

    good for Post-Gazette in correcting a mistake

  9. bobguzzardi says:

    I think it is Mike “Negative Works” Long, an incompetent hack, who ineptly plays the race card.

    Mike Long, Todd Nyquist and the rest the Jubelirer Harrisburg Insiders getting rich from government and opportunistic candidates are an embarrassment to the party and are a factor in the Democrats’ victories.

    Mark Mustio and his sponsor and designated successor, John Pippy ,are NOT The Forgotten Taxpayer’s BFF

    Mark Mustio Rhetoric and Record
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/89219397/Rhetoric-Record-Mark-Mustio-Condensed-Updated

    Sen. John Pippy Rhetoric Record http://www.scribd.com/doc/90557631/RhetoricRealityJohnPippyshortversion

  10. GET OUT OF MY PARTY says:

    If people in our area want to leave the party because they want hacks like Mustio in office, then they should not even be given the choice to leave – they should be kicked out! When did it become acceptable for Republicans to settle with people like Mark Mustio or Tim Murphy who vote conservatively 50% of the time they are in office? Why is that somehow enough?! If you want legislators who vote down the middle, or vote in the black of the night for pay raises for themselves, then maybe you should become an Independent. Being a Republican means standing for Conservative values, and bringing government to the people locally, not enabling career hacks to make self-fulfilling decisions.

  11. Query says:

    Keegan: Who is consulting for Mustio?

  12. Harry says:

    Yep, that would be the crazy wing of the GOP. It is better than the evil wing, represented here by Mustio, but not by much.

  13. Mom voter says:

    I’m a registered voter in Sue Means neighborhood. I know her personally and can say that she is just plain nuts. The Sue Means, Evan Feinberg, Sam Rohrer yard sign trio sends shivers down my spine when I see it. You have a crazy loon, an angry arrogant out of towner and a hypocrite midnight pay raiser. God help us if this is the direction of the party, because I won’t be a Republican for long if it is.

  14. ILikeSmith says:

    SUE MEANS BUSINESS! All this campaign has done is confirm that Mustio and Raja are not running to serve us, but to serve themselves. Sue will go shake things up and come home. NO MORE CAREER POLITICIANS!!!

  15. TNardi says:

    This is a good negative mailer *without* resorting to racism. Sigh.

  16. Chuck says:

    Someone should focus on who the consultant is who is writing and designing Mustio’s ads. And the political community should collectively agree that he/she will never work in politics ever again.

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