PA-8: Naughton, Santarsiero Exchange Blows in Brutal Debate

PA-8 Dem DebateThe room got dark.

Literally, between the Republican debate and the Democratic follow-up someone asked for the shades to be lowered on the lobby’s long windows.

It was a fitting omen.

Another early indicator came when just over a dozen Santarsiero supporters arrived early and filled in the first couple rows.

Finally, three hours before the debate started the Santarsiero campaign issued an email calling on Naughton and 314 PAC, her old organization and a major point of contention recently, to release forty-eight hour FEC reports.

Naughton should’ve seen the punch coming, but she didn’t.

After both candidates gave their familiar stump speech in their opening statements, Santarsiero brought up the pledge.

“I want to present a challenge to my opponent right now,” he stated before describing the pledge.

The subject actually dovetailed into Pezza’s first question about the negativity that has taken over the race.

“Is this really where you want your campaigns to be in these final days,” he asked the candidates.

Santarsiero went first and repeated his previous question.

“Well, we have been running a campaign based on the issues,” Naughton responded saying that voters were not concerned with these charges. “Now, my opponent has tried to make this an issue for quite some time now and he’s been caught lying about his position and his record multiple times by every newspaper that covers this race.”

It was around this time that murmurs in the front began (the press, including myself, were seated in front of, behind and next to these Santarsiero supporters).

“The accusation that there’s any coordination [with 314 PAC] is just false,” Naughton asserted. “I’m not going to allow you to lie about my record the way you lied about your own.”

That got even more of a reaction.

“No has accused me of lying about anything. If there’s been any lying it’s been by a Super PAC that you yourself created,” Santarsiero responded while again calling for Naughton to accept or decline his pledge.

Naughton refused to be drawn in.

“This is a grassroot funded campaign, the amount of time it would take to put together that report five days before an election is frankly a political stunt,” she asserted.

“We’re gonna do it, it doesn’t take that much time,” Santarsiero countered.

“Well I don’t have the big dollar contributors the way you do,” she shot back.

This prompted loud guffaws from the front row that Pezza had to step in and stop.

“Excuse me, this isn’t the Tonight Show.”

If it seems like I’ve spent a lot of time on the opening few minutes, it’s because they were essential to the rest of the debate.

The exchange and the front-loaded audience clearly threw Naughton off and made it seem like she was cornered. As a result, she struggled for quite a bit afterward although the event soon moved on to more substantive issues.

The candidates next clashed over the Iranian nuclear deal which Naughton supports and Santarsiero opposes. She noted that he holds the same position on the deal that Republicans do while he brought up the repression during the Green Revolution.

Towards the end, however, the conversation turned back to campaign finance and Santarsiero again pressed his pledge.

“I don’t think Steve has a problem with PAC money, he’s accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of it,” Naughton said as she began to get her second wind. “He has a Super PAC right now running commercials for him.”

“Yes, I’ve taken a PAC check or two,” he responded. “From the United Auto Workers, the United Steelworkers, many of the Philadelphia trades. Because I stand with organized labor and they stand with me. I never take money from any organization that I don’t agree with.”

“PAC checks are different from a Super PAC and they’re different from a Super PAC that you yourself founded and is now running one of the nastiest campaigns that I think we’ve ever seen in this county,” Santarsiero stated before once more calling for Naughton to join his pledge, which again prompted applause that Pezza had to stop.

“I did found 314 PAC, but I stepped away from it before I launched my campaign for Congress,” Naughton stated. “So the fact that you’re trying to say I have anything to do with them is patently false. The newspapers have reported that nothing, there has been no violation. So you need to stop saying that and stop trying to mislead people. Frankly, the mailers that 314 PAC are sending out, I don’t appreciate. I’m been talking about the issues and your personal attacks on me, my family, my business over the last year have been horrible. I didn’t appreciate it but I don’t stand here and whine about it.”

These statements in particular were met with derision from the front rows.

“I’ve made no personal attacks on you or your family or anyone else in your campaign,” Santarsiero asserted. “The fact of the matter is one of your key campaign workers was paid both by the campaign and the Super PAC as recently as February. Now, I think people want to know where’s the money coming into that Super PAC now? Where’s it getting its money? And I think being transparent and providing that information now is a reasonable request and something we ought to be doing.”

He then went on to lament that his kids had seen the latest mailing that had some of his teeth blacked out (the idea was that his claims about his legislative record were “toothless”).

“This is really a distraction from you own failures,” Naughton responded. “You put out mailers saying that you passed the universal background check, that you wrote, the universal background check law in Pennsylvania. Well guess what? We don’t have a universal background check law in Pennsylvania. You were purposely misleading voters into thinking that we did.”

“You put out a statement calling me a tea-party Republican,” Naughton continued. “To me that sounds like a personal attack. You put out a statement saying that you passed 54 bills into law, when in fact you eventually had to admit the number was zero. So this is all just a distraction from your failed record in Harrisburg.”

Santarsiero defended himself by saying that 54 of the bills he has co-sponsored 54 bills have been passed.

“You’re running a campaign based on a lie,” Naughton concluded.

Pezza finally ended the debate with his traditional yes or no question to each participant: would the candidate return to BCCC in in the fall if they win the nomination?

“Does absolutely qualify?” Santarsiero joked.

“I plan on it,” Naughton answered.

April 22nd, 2016 | Posted in Congress, Features, Front Page Stories, Top Stories | 14 Comments

14 thoughts on “PA-8: Naughton, Santarsiero Exchange Blows in Brutal Debate”

  1. Porter Randolph says:

    Buzzed in Bristol: Look who’s the idiot now bitch!

  2. steventodd says:

    Man, am I ever glad I never gave to 314 when Naughton called me personally to ask me to do so.

    “I did found 314 PAC, but I stepped away from it before I launched my campaign for Congress,” Naughton stated. “So the fact that you’re trying to say I have anything to do with them is patently false.”

    And yet, key campaign workers was paid both by the campaign and the Super PAC as recently as February.

    The American people are sick of this crap! From both broken parties!

    Boo, Shaughnessy. I expected much more from you when you started out.

    Start with a lower office and learn the ropes a little.

  3. flynnbw says:

    If you’re going to refer to him as a “16-year politician,” at least give him some credit for being an LMT supervisor — I’m sure he passed a bunch of ordinances during that time.

  4. Better Call Saul says:

    Good. Good. Let the hate flow you through you all.

  5. New Hopeful Dem says:

    “I’m not going to allow you to lie about my record the way you lied about your own.” Sick burn!

    And the only thing I see that’s “fat” in this primary race, Porter, is the big fat lies that Santarsiero makes both on the debate stage and his campaign claims. Naughton is better than that, and better than your petty sexist remarks.

  6. garet jax says:

    Santosiero packed the audience with his sycophants and made the entire debate a joke. He and his supporters looked like bullies trying to intimidate and push around a woman. Any chance he might have had to win his election went right out the window.

  7. Bud Johnson says:

    I don’t doubt for a minute that Shaunessy and or her staff had input into the 314 PAC false attacks on Steve.

  8. buzzedinbristol says:

    porter – you sound like an idiot so i’ll try to put this in terms you can understand…

    no, passing laws is not a requirement to be a good state representative. the issue naughton’s campaign raised is that santarsiero LIED about his success as a legislator and has continuously tried to mislead voters about his success record.

  9. PhillySteve says:

    If you wanted someone who has actually accomplished something why would you go with dirty Steve?

  10. smarter says:

    If you’d like to know why Santarsiero’s campaign has been ugly, deceitful and unnecessarily ad hominem – look no further than the comment below with someone referring to Naughton’s “fat face”. You will notice my comment was with objective, and was with regard to his 0 bill passing despite fact he’s been in elected office for 16 years. That is the truth. That doesn’t have to constitute utter failure in everyone’s books, though it does in mine, but suffice it to say it’s pretty darn lousy performance, objectively.

    Since he hasn’t done anything – and I mean, literally NOTHING, of course he resorts to nasty, personal attacks, picking on his opponent’s fiance. Talk about pathetic. What an empty suit. He is everything that’s wrong with politics today, and no matter how many times he talks about 9/11 the voters will see right through him and his utter nonsense if not next week then in November.

  11. Porter Randolph says:

    smarter: if they supported her 2 years ago why don’t they support her now? I’ve got an idea, because I too supported her briefly 2 years ago until I got a taste of the nasty way she and her fiance campaign. Not interested. And where does it say in the PA Constitution that passing laws that you yourself authored is a requirement of good representatives? I know one thing though, Naughton has never written a bill, passed a law, voted on a bill, or provided a single constituent with service. Because she has never been elected to anything as she was too busy stuffing her fat face.

  12. Senator Rutherford B. Cattywampus says:

    “Well I don’t have the big dollar contributors the way you do,” she shot back.

    This prompted loud guffaws from the front row that Pezza had to step in and stop.

    “Excuse me, this isn’t the Tonight Show.”

    It isn’t the Tonight Show? Then someone should tell Shaunessey to not to a stand-up routine.

    She doesn’t have big dollar contributors??? So, what category does she put Ed Rendell in his buddies in?

  13. Josh Lyman says:

    There are a staggering amount of typos in this report. Can someone call Triad and get Britt Foster back here?

  14. smarter says:

    Many of those aggressive, rude front row people supported Naughton just 2 years ago. Now they turn to a 16 year career politician and Harrisburg insider who has never even passed any legislation but who thinks he’s gods gift to the world.

    Just say no to Santarsiero.

Comments are closed.