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Fayette Democrats call out Republicans for shenanigans at the county fair

Deb Erdley
| Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, 4:21 p.m.
Fayette County Republican Committeeman David Show sells gun raffle tickets at the Fayette County Fair at what Democrats are calling an unlicensed raffle.
Fayette County Republican Committeeman David Show sells gun raffle tickets at the Fayette County Fair at what Democrats are calling an unlicensed raffle.

Call this one the battle of the Fayette County Fair.

Major combatants in the skirmish include the Fayette County Democratic Committee and the County Republican Committee, with the John Birch Society and the Fayette County Patriots bringing up the rear flank.

Two weeks ago, Pennsylvania Republican State Committee Chair Val DiGiorgio called out Fayette County Democrats for offering a chance at Steelers gear or a day at a local resort to anyone who registered as a Democrat or changed their registration to become one at the Fayette County Fair.

Fayette Democratic Committee Chair George Rattay said he pulled the offer after someone brought up the issue of possible violations of a state election code provision that prohibits offering inducements to anyone to register with a specific party.

Democrats now are calling out Republicans for their connections to what appears to have been an unlicensed gun raffle at the Fayette County Fair. A picture shows County Republican Committeeman David Show selling raffle tickets at the fair under the banner of the Fayette County Patriots and the John Birch Society, at a table adjacent to the Fayette County Republican Committee’s main display.

Three tickets — costing $2, $3 and $5 — were stamped with the logo “Mountain View Rod & Gun/Fayette Friends of the Second” and advised winners to call 724-570-7280, the number listed on Fayette County Republican Committee’s website.

“That’s Mr. Show’s number,” Rattay said.

No one returned repeated messages left at that number Friday. A spokesman for the Republican State Committee immediately also did not respond to a call for comment.

Rattay said there is no record of any of the organizations involved in the raffle obtaining a small games of chance license as required by law, nor does it appear that neither the Rod & Gun group nor the Fayette Friends of the Second have existed as registered charitable or tax exempt organizations for at least a year.

“On its face, the raffle being conducted and the associated tickets being sold by one or more political operatives and candidates of the Fayette County Republican Party clearly violates the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act in multiple respects,” Rattay said in a letter to the county Election Bureau and District Attorney Richard Bower.

Bower said he has that complaint as well as the one the GOP filed last week. He said he’s going to recuse himself and forward both to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro after a county election bureau hearing.

“We’re supposed to have our hearing with the Election Bureau and the county commissioners Monday morning, but it may be delayed because our attorney has to be out of town,” Rattay said. “We’re hoping if it is delayed they’ll hold a hearing on both complaints the same day.”

Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 412-320-7996, or via Twitter @deberdley_trib.

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