Raja, Fitzgerald Set To Face Off In County Executive Race

By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The day after his overwhelming victory in the Republican primary for Allegheny County Executive, D. Raja – who wants everyone to just call him Raja – says he’s not going to rest.

“Got home a little after midnight, and back at work at eight o’clock,” Raja told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.

The Republican nominee knows he can’t really rest if he hopes to upset the surprisingly strong winner of the Democratic Primary, former county council president Rich Fitzgerald.

“Take a look at what Allegheny County is right now,” says Raja. “I call it a slow decline.”

Raja says the choice is between a real outsider and a political insider.

“What we need is change right now, and the change if you keep electing the same people responsible for this,” says Raja. “That’s what Einstein said, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.”

No surprise, Fitzgerald has a different take. He sees himself as a reformer on county council who engineered change in Allegheny County.

“We’ve really reformed this government over the last 12 years,” says Fitzgerald. “I think people almost forget what county government was like under the three county commissioner systems.”

Fitzgerald says his message of reform has resonated.

“We’ve streamlined it, we reduced county row offices, we’ve consolidated services like 911, held the line on property taxes,” he said.

He sees himself, not Raja, as having the experience to bring about change.

“I’ve been changing government.” says Fitzgerald. “I have been the person on council who has been reforming it and been making these changes, changes for the better.”

Politics is a family affair. In their kitchen, Fitzgerald’s kids rehashed stories of working the polls on Election Day. His wife Cathy retold how one daughter’s purchase of a hot dog led to a vote.

“An hour later, the lady comes to the poll to vote and says, ‘Hey! I just sold you a hot dog. I’ll vote for your dad,'” Cathy laughed.

Raja’s girls are a little young for poll-working, but they did knock on doors for their father, “They both did great.”

But this contest between Raja and Fitzgerald for County Executive won’t turn on family but on issues, say both candidates, and one of the biggest issues is next year’s court-ordered reassessment of all property in the county.

Fitzgerald pledges to block it if imposed on Allegheny County residents alone.

“No Allegheny County only reassessment,” Fitzgerald declares. “I think it should be done statewide, like every other state does it.”

Raja agrees with that, and he says his close ties to Gov. Tom Corbett and Republican leaders who control Harrisburg will help.

“I would go talk to Harrisburg and put a solution together that would be fair and equitable and consistent,” he says. “I wouldn’t just delay the assessments for a long time, going down like eight years like it’s been done in the past.”

Fitzgerald would go to Harrisburg, too, but if they fail to act he would stand his ground despite the consequences.

“The next County Executive has to send out the certified tax values for individual properties,” he says. “That would be my job to send those out. I won’t do it. I just won’t do it if we’re the only county doing it.”

A defiance that could put Fitzgerald in jail for contempt of court.

“Sounds a bit dramatic to me,” says Raja.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s County Elections Map
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2011 Primary Election Returns By County
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  • 7-11

    Raja could run the 7-11

  • Raja For Exec

    7-11, really? Are we to expect continued racist remarks like those from Raja’s opponents? The next time someone tells me that Raja is going to send our jobs to India, I’ll tell them that Fitzgerald is going to send our jobs to Ireland. It makes about as much sense as the attack on Raja.

  • hwright

    But its A ok to Attack Obama!!!!!! typical Republican

    • Zoeyzotron

      Most folks attack oBama’s lack of financial knowledge and his desire for socialism. not his race.

      Wake up moron democrat

      • hwright

        Your idea of lack of financial knowledge meaning he doesnt support the rich really bothers you…… And I dont know any Moron democrats? Republicans on the other hand HUM……….dont know where to begin

    • Zoeyzotron

      I think the “rich” already pay plenty in taxes. How about the 50% that don’t pay taxes start doing their fair share? How about the the people that take from the government (taxpaying Americans) start to take a bit less?

      Does that not make sense to you? I have news for you….15 Trillion in debt will not go away by taxing the “rich”, not even dent it…

    • Freedoms Lost

      I attack Obama all the time, he’s a Commie I also think republicans do favor the rich and it’s my right to do so.
      I also support you and your union because thats your right and I will always back you up.
      If Dems or Repubs really supported the working man there would be no need for a union.
      It’s always the same old, same old of career politicians thats why this never changes.


    Wouldn’t Corbett just love it if he could have another republican puppet on a string in place running the 2nd largest county in the state. They could talk more bull about how their not going to raise taxes and create job’s. When in reality all their CUTTING will create a loss of jobs and back door property tax increase’s. If your a Senior, a Student, a blue collar worker, a Teacher or any one unfortunite enough to have to depend on public assistance. You better vote for the DEMACRAT or chances are you will either loose your job, loose your benefits, pay higher tuition, pay higher property taxes and loose your public transportation. Don’t be fooled by these right wing radio talk show hosts that try to brainwash you everyday making you think that your somehow going to save taxes on voting republican. Do the math. They are all for corporate america and big buisness. They want to first brainwash you. Then make you there slave to work for them for minimum wage with minimal benefits for the rest of your life. Stand up for yourself. Join a Union, Speak up and be heard. Fight for your rights. VOTE STRAIT UP DEMOCRATIC.

    • Zoeyzotron

      CHUTE – This is quite possible one of the dumbest post I have read on here. do you even know what Capitalism is? Do you realize if there is no longer a need for 10 people in a department then the right thing to do is cut that job. its about financial stability for the long haul. Your role is to make yourself valuable and if or when you get let go, get a new job. That is Capitalism, it always corrects itself.

      also, why would you not want corporate America to do well? They are the TAX BASE for all the dumb a$$ entitlements… oh, and your retirement (or pension for those that still have them) are invested in Wallstreet… do you want to contradict yourself anymore?

      By the way, there is a 60% unemployment rate for 1st year college graduates right now…. but you keep voting for the union loving economy destroying democrats.

      • You Again Show Some Compassion

        Well I hope the next time there is a need for less people and YOUR JOB is cut, I hope you feel the same way.
        I’m glad for you that your so fortunate and I’ll pray for you not to have to go through what a lot of Americans are going through.

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