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.
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.