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Politics

Corbett endorses Mt. Lebanon businessman Raja for county executive

| Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gov. Tom Corbett on Wednesday joined a growing roster of high-profile Republicans to endorse Mt. Lebanon businessman D. Raja in his bid to win the GOP nomination for Allegheny County executive.

"I know he'll bring the job creation experience we need to the office," Corbett, a Republican from Shaler, said in a prepared statement.

Raja, 45, is running against former county Councilman Chuck McCullough, 56, of Upper St. Clair. McCullough said he didn't seek the governor's support.

"It means absolutely nothing to me," McCullough said. "I think this underscores that I'm not your grandfather's Republican. I'm an independent Republican. I'm running to represent the people. I'm not here to represent the Republican hierarchy."

Raja said he is honored by Corbett's support, and he predicts a "historic victory" in the May 17 primary.

Pennsylvania Democrats derided the endorsement, noting Corbett's approval rating hit 35 percent in a survey released this month.

"It's hard to see how the backing of one of America's most unpopular governors is helpful," said Mark Nicastre, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

The two candidates running for the Democratic nomination are county Controller Mark Patrick Flaherty, 49, of Mt. Lebanon and former county Council President Rich Fitzgerald, 51, of Squirrel Hill.

Other Republicans who endorsed Raja include Allegheny County GOP Chairman Jim Roddey, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai of Bradford Woods and state Sen. John Pippy of Moon.

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