U.S. Rep. Murphy's Opponent Calls Attack Ad 'Fake'
Democratic congressional candidate Steve O'Donnell of Monroeville is not running any television ads in his campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, an Upper St. Clair Republican. But this week O'Donnell finds his face all over the television tube.
"He's running these attack ads that are really, really beneath his office -- beneath the office of a United States congressman -- in order to go after me personally and to go after my family," O'Donnell told KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano.
O'Donnell is angry about a political ad Murphy is running that says, in part: "As head of a non-profit charity, O'Donnell got caught taking $200,000 targeted to help the mentally disabled and spent it on renovating a building he owns. What type of person does that?"
"I never took a penny," says O'Donnell. "Tim Murphy knows that. He's in trouble. He's running scared."
O'Donnell flatly denies the charges -- and says that a particular shot of him holding his hand up to block a camera that makes him look like a criminal defendant in a TV news story is a fake.
"It was absolutely fake. It was done so they could put together this attack ad," says O'Donnell, who says Murphy's campaign people shoved a camera in his face at an outside event. "The cameraman literally put the camera in my face, so I put my hand up to get the camera out from my face."
O'Donnell says Murphy is trying to distract attention from his record.
"Congressman Tim Murphy is a foot soldier in the Bush-Cheney administration. This is a congressman who has voted 80 to 97 percent of the time with George Bush and Dick Cheney."
O'Donnell -- a navy veteran -- strongly opposes the war in Iraq and says, "Mr. Murphy has voted for this war over and over and over again."
And the Democrat says it's time for a change.
"This is a congressman who has been part of the problem and who is clearly, clearly not part of the fix."
The Murphy campaign stands by the facts in its ad, saying it's based on 22 articles in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
And in another sign of the back and forth, the National Republican Party filed an election complaint against O'Donnell today for not reporting his contributions accurately.
The 18th congressional district stretches through Washington, Allegheny, and Westmoreland counties -- and has about 70,000 more Democrats than Republicans.