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Stabile Goes Negative in Superior Court Ad (With Video)

Vic Stabile threw the first punch of the Superior Court race Monday, accusing Democrat Jack McVay of using his position as an Allegheny County family court judge to get jobs for his girlfriend and sister-in-law.

McVay’s camp said the ad violates a pledge both men signed with the Pa. Bar Association.

“After he became a judge, he got his girlfriend a job. Then his sister-in-law got a job. And now Jack McVay wants you to give him a promotion,” a narrator charges.

Stabile ad 2013The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2012 reported McVay’s sister-in-law’s position and editorialized against McVay’s fiancee’s hire.

The ad switches to positive, introducing Stabile and boasting of his endorsement by the Pa. Fraternal Order of Police.

“And I won’t put my family on the court payroll,” Stabile says into the camera, his only line in the ad.

McVay’s campaign fired back, calling the ad a move of desperation by Stabile.

“If he’s going negative and willing to violate his pledge, it must mean he sees himself behind,” McVay campaign manager, Marty Marks told PoliticsPA. “We’re running a positive effort and it’s going to stay that way.”

Stabile lost the 2011 Superior Court race thanks in large part to a strong western Pa. performance by opponent David Wecht, also a Pittsburgher.

Marks defended the hire of McVay’s sister-in-law, saying she brought years of professional child welfare experience to the job. He noted that the decision to hire McVay’s fiancee was made by another judge, and that both hires complied with court rules.

Stabile and McVay each signed a pledge by the Pa. Bar Association, agreeing to certain guidelines for campaigning.

It’s not clear whether Stabile violated the pledge, which is open to interpretation.

“Canon 7 does not specifically proscribe ‘negative advertising,’” the Ethics Committee of the Pa. Conference of State Trial Judges wrote in an advisory – one of the criteria for the pledge. But, they continue, “While in some limited circumstances negative advertising may be appropriate,given the nature of political ads; the committee strongly discourages negative ads.”

Additionally, the ad may have impugned the judiciary – another no-no according to the pledge – with its insinuation that McVay was doing something improper when he “lived off your tax dollars” while serving as a judge.

PoliticsPA is seeking a response from Stabile.

The ad was produced by Parknavy Advertising in western PA and is scheduled to run through election day. PoliticsPA is seeking details on the ad buy. As it is a split positive and negative ad, it is likely the only commercial that he will run during this race.

According to an FCC filing, Stabile is spending $38,000 to air the ad on WTAE. The Pittsburgh market appears to be the key battleground of the race; both candidates are on the air there. McVay also launched an ad – all positive – in the Pittsburgh market on Monday.

The Pa. Superior Court race is the only statewide contest in Pa. on November 5. The position mostly deals with appeals cases from county Courts of Common Pleas.

Stabile is an attorney from Carlisle. McVay is a Judge on the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas.

12 Responses

  1. Can’t McVay come up with something better than throwing out baseballs at the Pirates games and working in the pressbox for the Steelers? What does that have to do with ANYTHING????

  2. Stabile is yet another product of the Gleason-Asher PAGOP good old boys club. Republican voting for McVay here!

  3. Nice job sending around Stabile’s ad for free. Do you have to report this as a campaign contribution?

  4. Please expand story. We clearly misunderstand : a candidate for Pennsylvania appellate judge who is a trial judge has only a sister-in-law, girl-friend and fiancé on the public payroll. What’s the problem ? That’s mild as Pa. Judges go, isn’t it ? He probably can do a lot better if given a chance.

  5. @abc
    You won’t be saying that when Vic Stabile becomes our next Superior Court judge. The west really screwed this up. To bad McVay will just end up another waste of the Democratic Party’s time.

  6. This is an awful ad from start to finish. Do the voters really care about whether a candidate’s girlfriend may have been on the county payroll? I think voters are smart enough to figure out that this type of ad is intended to confuse them rather than inform them.

  7. If Waters had won the primary, Vic Stabile could have never attacked him. Thanks to the good people in Allegheny County, we have a judicial candidate that loves nepotism. Joe Waters–Upstanding Citizen, Judge, Marine, Cop, and Man. Hope he runs again.

  8. Kudos to Jack Mcvay! Negative Advertising in a campaign, especially a race for a judge, has no place in any voters heart. It only reveals that the candidate has no good qualities or virtues to rely on. Any person that utilizes negative campaigning should be removed from any public office. Jack Mcvay is clearly relying on his personal experience and is clearly the choice for Superior Court!

  9. This ad’s picture quality is horrible, no wonder he is scared.. his AV team can’t even make his face clear! Kudos to Marty Marks and Jack McVay.

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