Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Embattled Ex-State Rep. Finds New Life in Campaign

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Embattled Ex-State Rep. Finds New Life in Campaign

Article excerpt

When emergency physician Bob Solomon takes his congressional campaign on the road, he brings along a few volunteers who wear yellow No. 14 jerseys with his last name on the back - like a retro Pittsburgh sports jersey, but with the district he's running in.

Whose idea was that? His campaign manager, Jesse White's.

Yes, that Jesse White.

To those familiar with politics in Western Pennsylvania, Mr. White's name might conjure up memories of a slew of negative news headlines over the past decade. But the former Democratic state representative and lawyer from Washington County - who lost his seat in 2014 after revelations he used fictitious internet personalities to attack his political enemies, followed by his disbarment three years later for misappropriating client funds - said he has moved past all that.

"It's a reasonable question, you know: Am I a pariah?" Mr. White asked, seated at a table Monday for a Solomon campaign event at the Burgettstown Senior Center. "Sometimes I don't know. I don't know the answer to that."

"I've basically realized, look, I've done a lot of good for a lot of people over the years and they acknowledge that and those that don't are entitled to their opinion," he added.

The 39-year-old joined Dr. Solomon's campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 14th District in mid-March, he said, and was promoted to campaign manager about three weeks later. It was less than a year after he was disbarred by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after voluntarily resigning his law license for misappropriating $96,446 in client funds - allegations he said were "materially" true at the time and were why he sought treatment for a "pathological gambling addiction."

Mr. White, elected amid a wave of Democrats in 2006 to the state Legislature, served four terms before losing re-election to Republican Jason Ortitay in 2014, soon after news reports revealed he used anonymous social media personas to impersonate political enemies, advocates of gas well drilling and even constituents. During that primary, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the scandal was "not something I'm particularly proud of. …

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