WirePOLITICS: Santarsiero faces criticism on Kane controversy

Tom Waring, the Wire

The National Republican Congressional Committee continues to question whether Steve Santarsiero, a Democratic candidate in the 8th Congressional District, will call on state Attorney General Kathleen Kane to resign or start impeachment proceedings against her.

Santarsiero, a state representative from Lower Makefield, will face Shaughnessy Naughton in the primary. Naughton ran for the seat two years ago.

Last week, Santarsiero issued a press release that linked Naughton’s top aide to Kane, who is charged with illegally leaking confidential grand jury information to a Philadelphia Daily News reporter about a former state prosecutor, then lying about it under oath.

The NRCC described Santarsiero as working himself “into a tizzy” over Naughton staffer Josh Morrow. The committee labeled Santarsiero the “cowardly lion of PA-08,” suggesting he’s using the Kane saga as a tool in his campaign without condemning her.

“If Steve Santarsiero is so worked up over the indiscretions of Kathleen Kane, then why hasn’t he called for her resignation or used his position as state representative to start impeachment proceedings against her?” asked NRCC spokesman Chris Pack. “The fact that Santarsiero is willing to use Kane to score political points in his campaign for Congress but won’t do anything about it in his official position as state representative shows you just how much of a hypocrite he is.”

Morrow does not face charges in the Kane case. Kane allegedly summoned him to deliver grand jury information to Chris Brennan, who now works for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Ms. Naughton and her political team have a habit of back channeling and planting hit jobs,” said Gabrielle Quintana Greenfield, Santarsiero’s campaign manager.

Greenfield added, “The fact that Ms. Naughton would allow Morrow to command such a public leadership role in both her campaigns is telling of how she would run her congressional office.”

Santarsiero represents Newtown and Yardley in the General Assembly. He’s worked as a lawyer and Bensalem High School teacher. In 2003, he was elected a Lower Makefield Township supervisor and later became board chairman. In 2008, he was elected state representative. He and his wife, Ronni, have three children, Nancy, Billy and Johnny.

Naughton is a scientist and owner of a family publishing business. She ran in 2014, but lost in the primary by 817 votes to Kevin Strouse, who had most of the party behind him. Strouse went on to lose to Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, who is not seeking another term.

Former Bucks County Commissioner Andy Warren is seeking the Republican nomination. Other rumored candidates include state Rep. Scott Petri and Tom Manion, a retired businessman and Marine Corps colonel who ran for the seat in 2008.