Trib editorial: Voters' verdict on Korns, Kline & Murphy's money rightly matters most
Political money and political speech being practically inseparable, donors are free to give (or not) and candidates are free to accept (or not). But when politicians who left office in disgrace dip into prior campaigns' war-chest leftovers to aid other politicians' campaigns, the intended recipients face difficult acceptance decisions — and judgment of those decisions ultimately rests, as it should, with voters.
Former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy resigned amid an extramarital scandal. The Republican gave $1,000 in war-chest leftovers to Michael Korns, who chairs Westmoreland County's GOP committee. Mr. Korns is running in the primary to replace state Rep. Eli Evankovich, who's not seeking re-election in the 54th District stretching from the Murrysville area to the Alle-Kiski Valley.
GOP primary rival Bryan Kline, Westmoreland's clerk of courts, says Mr. Korns should “get rid of” that donation “immediately,” calling Mr. Murphy “a phony pro-life conservative.” Korns says he won't return Murphy's money, calling it “a complete non-issue.”
Mr. Kline's obviously attempting to capitalize on Murphy being damaged political goods — a status confirmed by state Rep. Rick Saccone's call for the Westmoreland GOP to return $5,000 Murphy donated to support his 18th Congressional District special-election bid. Korns obviously wants to keep Murphy's money anyway. But what will ultimately count far more than either candidate's rhetoric is the verdict on Murphy's money that the 54th District's GOP primary voters will render come May 15.