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PA-8: Santarsiero Goes Nuclear on Naughton

Naughton SantarsieroThis race has gotten very personal, very early.

State Rep. Steve Santarsiero’s campaign sent out a press release yesterday blasting Shaughnessy Naughton’s chief strategist (and fiance) Joshua Morrow.

The statement refers to Morrow as “Kane’s political hatchet-man” because he received information from Deputy Attorney General Adrian King and gave it to Chris Brennan of the Daily News.

Brennan’s subsequent article triggered the investigation of the AG.

In the criminal complaint against Kane (which the Santarsiero campaign included as an attachment in their email) Morrow describes an April 22, 2014 phone call with the Attorney General.

“[Kane] asked me to do her a favor, and to give Adrian King a call because he had something that she wanted to give to a reporter, I asked her what it was and she told me it involved an investigation into Jerry Mondesire by Frank Fina and that he had shut it down,” Morrow testified.

“Ms. Naughton and her political team have a habit of back channeling and planting hit jobs,” said Santarsiero campaign manager, Gabrielle Quintana Greenfield. “Now it is clear that her campaign treasurer and close confidante, Josh Morrow, is willing to break the law to benefit his candidates.”

Morrow has not been charged with any crime and it does not appear he will be.

Greenfield’s statement goes on to state that Morrow and Naughton “have a long history”. It points out he was her top staffer in 2014 and is the campaign treasurer this time around. While noting that they are both registered at the same address, it does not mention the fact that they are engaged.

“The fact that Ms. Naughton would allow Morrow to command such a public leadership role in both her campaigns is telling of how she would run her congressional office,” Greenfield concluded. “She should explain to the voters why she would allow someone involved with a criminal case to be such an integral part of her campaign.”

PoliticsPA reached out to the Naughton camp and received the following statement from the candidate.

“State Representative Steve Santarsiero has a long history of launching over the top and dirty attacks in a veiled attempt to disparage his opponents, and it’s exactly the same culture of corruption and ugly retribution that he learned in Harrisburg and that we don’t need in Washington. The corruption charges against Kathleen Kane and so many other Harrisburg politicians reveal a system where insiders engage in out-of-bounds mudslinging and the politics of personal destruction. As Rep. Santarsiero falls back into these dangerous habits, I’m focused on talking to Pennsylvanians about issues that matter to them.”

While it certainly can’t ever be surprising when a political campaign gets personal or negative, it is rare to see it this early. The Democratic primary election between Naughton and Santarsiero is still over eight months away.

They are fighting to represent Pennsylvania’s 8th district, a seat currently held by retiring Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick.

27 Responses

  1. The fact that Naughton is engaged to a potential felon is actually the most the most interesting thing I have ever heard about her, it almost makes up for the fact that she is about as bland and uninteresting as rice pudding.

  2. Morrow has worked on a number of local campaigns, including Tom Knox’s run for mayor and governor.

  3. So let me get this straight – Josh Morrow opened classified documents, read them, redacted parts, and then delivered them? How on earth is Kane’s driver charged, but not him? What is Shaughnessy’s campaign going to do with this guy????

  4. Morrow was campaign spokesman and then redacter and secret-package carrier for Kane, who’s been indicted. He was campaign manager for Joseph Waters, who was convicted of fixing cases for a campaign contributor and went to prison. He was spokesman for Seamus McCaffery, who resigned after his porn habit was revealed. Anyone see a pattern here? I guess Naughton doesn’t.
    By the way, why does it appear that Morrow went last fall to Guyana, a country that ranks way, way down on the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International? Did he go during the grand jury investigation? Did anyone go with him? Why?

  5. Chris Brennan is a Johnny Doc hack!!!! And any candidate who takes his money be prepared to lose control over your campaign. He will do what he always does Unleash his THUG minions to do ” night work “. Santaserio will now pay the same price John Kane did. Desperate and lame.

  6. Shaughnessy Naughton’s chief strategist, Joshua Morrow is certainly deeply involved in the Attorney General Kathy Kane’s criminal indictment. According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, Commonwealth vs. Kathleen G. Kane it is stated “Morrow decided to deliver the contents of the package to Chris Brennan, a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News…According to Morrow, he did not immediately deliver the package to Brennan. Morrow stated that he waited several weeks before giving the documents to Brennan. Morrow stated that he made redactions to the document before delivering them,”

    What transpired during those “several weeks? What was redacted in the documents that the Commonwealth is now asserting was illegal leakage of Grand jury testimony?

    The scandal has left an indelible mark on Harrisburg. Let’s not have it travel to Washington, DC

  7. Naughton says she is “focused on talking to Pennsylvanians about issues that matter to them” but she is really focused on herself. When she lost the primary to Kevin Strouse, she tried to get Steve Cikay to step down so she could run. Other than Rendell, no other Bucks dems supported her. It looks like her fiancé Morrow wants to win “something” at all costs as well. Morrow obviously knew what was in the package before he delivered it. I’ve followed Santarsiero’s career in public office and he has never engaged in dirty politics.

  8. The presentment states that Morrow had no right to see or possess documents that were subject to grand jury secrecy, yet he testified that he not only looked at the documents but also redacted information before handing them off to the Daily News reporter. If he’s not being charged with a crime, is it because he cut a deal? At the very least, Naughton needs to step up and explain what Morrow is doing in her campaign. She can’t claim to be an innocent outsider when her right-hand person is up to his eyeballs in political sleaze and has played a role in the alleged criminal activity of his former boss.

  9. This is great! What fun. Too bad it is all for naught since Petri will clean their clocks.

  10. If anyone actually read the presentment (looking at you Nick Fields. Kane is your favorite subject, after all) then they might notice that Morrow testified that he opened the documents and redacted information. The quote in this article makes it sound as if he had no knowledge of the contents. There is no question that Morrow was complicit in criminal activity. The question is why isn’t he being charged? Did he cut a deal?

  11. This whole Kane thing is a rats nest of an affair–with faults on both the Republicans and Democrats involved. It’s telling to Steve’s reasonable and moderate character that he is able to rise above the partisan fray and separate himself from Kane (and Morrow but that might be a little more obvious of a motive). The fact that Shaughnessy is so intimately tied to Democratic partisanship–married to a key figure in the current scandal, with that person managing her past campaigns and the Treasurer for her current one–helps to underscore the fact that she is part of the partisan problem in the state. She would lose the general. PA is a purple state, and we need to elect purple officals, lest we become Ohio.

  12. This article is sensational to a ridiculous degree and doesn’t accurately express Santarsiero’s comments about the Naughton campaign’s involvement in this scandal. What he said was well-deserved and fair criticism. Looking at the facts, Morrow did pass information from King. No matter how you slice it, this reflects very poorly Naughton.

  13. If Morrow was involved with Kane, Naughton needs to answer what that involvement was and whether he will continue to be on her staff.

  14. Santarsiero has a record of public service which appeals to Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Naughton has a record of…oh wait, she doesn’t have a record. Unless you count trashing her Democratic opponent in the 2014 Primary campaign. That trashing was effective enough so that Fitzpatrick didn’t have much to worry about. Makes me wonder which Party she’s working for. It certainly isn’t the Democratic Party. She boasts of being a scientist, but then uses rhetoric instead of facts – doesn’t stand up to peer review.

  15. SERIOUSLY! Josh Morrow was the one who read secret documents! I’m pretty sure that’s illegal!

  16. Naughton’s a joke, she’s had no chance before, but after this, she’s lucky if anyone votes for her.

  17. It seems like the Mexican is evoking unhinged. This is uncharted territory for him, if he is a ting this was in August before the primary, then he is losing support. Rumors are now being validated.

  18. So, she’s sleeping with a political hack? That’s good to know. Of course, so is SS’s wife…

  19. Wow you can tell Steve is getting desperate now. This certainly isn’t the kind of attack a front runner launches, that’s for sure.

  20. Aren’t we missing the fact that this Morrow character was involved in the same illegal activities that has lead to charges against the AG? How is it Santarsiero’s fault for pointing this out? What campaign wouldn’t do that?

  21. Ad Hominems aside, releasing a statement isn’t really “going nuclear”. Additionally, and objectively, this is all public info – anyone can google Morrow and see his involvement with Kane.

  22. nah, i was talking about SS…i dont live in the district and dont know the players involved personally but it looks like his back is up against the wall after raising no money

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