Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

District Judge Candidate Faulted for Stump Tactics

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

District Judge Candidate Faulted for Stump Tactics

Article excerpt

Republican officials and leaders of police and pro-gun-rights groups are faulting a district judge candidate for campaign obfuscation, two years after he was accused of election-code violations.

Michael McMullen, 44, running on both the Republican and Democratic ballots for the seat long held by retiring District Judge Suzanne R. Blaschak, said he was the target of "negative tactics, rumor mills, or 'he said, she said' type of discourse," possibly because he's "in the lead" in the nine-candidate race.

James Roddey, the Republican Committee of Allegheny County chairman, who pushed last month to oust Mr. McMullen from party posts, said Mr. McMullen "is not the person that I want representing me.... There are legitimate Democrat candidates and legitimate Republican candidates."

Mr. McMullen - a soccer referee, former salesman and political consultant - was endorsed by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1 and recommended by Firearms Owners Against Crime. In recent weeks, though, those groups rescinded their recommendations.

Kim Stolfer, president of the firearms owners group, said Mr. McMullen has nonetheless "continued to do mailings, claiming ... that we endorse him."

The withdrawn recommendations appear to be rooted in Mr. McMullen's unsuccessful 2013 Republican primary bid for Allegheny County Council, won by Republican Ed Kress.

In a criminal complaint, Allegheny County Police Detective Steven Dish wrote that in May 2013 Mr. McMullen sent out robocalls in such a way that recipients thought they came from Mr. Kress. As a result, according to the complaint, Mr. Kress got calls "from numerous people asking him why he had called them with an automated recording."

The tactic "is unethical," Mr. Roddey said. "It has no place in a political campaign."

Mr. McMullen was charged with an election-code violation for advertising without indicating the source, which was later reduced to a summary disorderly conduct charge. …

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