SD37: Raja Defends Business Background
Attacks on Raja’s business background played a role in his defeats in 2011 and 2012. Any pundit worth their salt would anticipate them again in the state Senate special election. The ongoing ad war in Pittsburgh’s suburbs will determine if it’s possible for the Republican to shake the attacks that have dogged his political career.
Raja’s new 30 second ad, The Truth, attempts to counter the latest iteration from Democrat Pam Iovino. The spot accuses Iovino of lying, while painting her as too liberal.
“Liberal extremist Pam Iovino will say anything to get elected, even lie about Raja,” the spot begins with. “Here’s the truth.”
The ad states that he began his international company out of the spare bedroom of his apartment in the district and boasts about employing 500 people in Pittsburgh and across the nation. The ad also tries to stress paying his workers a fair wage and downplaying the role of global operations to focus on creating jobs in the Pittsburgh region.
“Raja creates jobs, Iovino will cost us jobs,” the ad states. “Vote Raja for state Senate.”
The Iovino campaign released an ad similar to ones from the Democrats who defeated Raja in his bids for Allegheny County Executive in 2011 and state Senate in 2012. Those attacks similarly painted Raja as an outsourcing-happy businessman who didn’t respect his employees. Fact-checkers mostly backed Democratic claims in 2011 and 2012; Raja’s response emphasizes that the activity in question represents a small fraction of his overall record.
Iovino’s campaign accuses him of trying to change the subject on a rotten record.
“The facts about Raja are that his company was fined more than $133,000 for failure to pay minimum wage and overtime,” said Iovino spokeswoman Abigail Gardner. “We understand he wants to change the narrative of the campaign away from lawsuits against employees, labor violations, and outsourcing jobs, but that is the track record.”
The special election for this seat is set for April 2.