By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The race for Allegheny County Executive has taken another turn, as both Republican D. Raja and Democrat Rich Fitzgerald launch aggressive attack ads.

Raja ad: “Career politician Rich Fitzgerald will do anything to stay in office. Now he is attacking Raja with lies and false claims.”

Fitzgerald ad: “Raja is still outsourcing jobs. Raja is not a job creator. He’s a job destroyer.”

Both candidates blame the other for the negative tone.

“You look at his own record and it’s a bunch of lies,” Raja told KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano. “And on my case, he’s just made up these blatant lies with these negative ads.”

“First of all, his charges were absolutely false,” says Fitzgerald, “but we decided to hit him back. And these charges that we have leveled, actually they were in the City Paper, are absolutely true.”

Raja’s ad claims: “Fitzgerald pushed for pay raises for politicians, opposed hiring by merit, and threatened local businessmen, shaking them down for donations.”

Pay raise?

“Never happened? Absolutely never happened,” says Fitzgerald.

Merit hiring?

“I voted against a Jim Roddey merit hiring bill, but we passed our own,” the Democrat explains.

Fitzgerald’s ad claims: “Raja sued 84 of his own workers, even one trying to care for his cancer-stricken mother.”

“Flat out lie, Jon,” insists Raja. “We never sued anyone whose mother had cancer and had to leave. That’s a flat out lie by Rich Fitzgerald.”

Doctor emails seem to confirm the cancer, but Raja says, “We were never told the woman had cancer when the lawsuit was there. That’s what my legal department tells me. We had no knowledge of it at all.”

If all this back and forth leaves voters confused, that’s often the goal of negative ads — even to the point of keeping people from voting.

The election is November 8.

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