While most people in the region are fixated on the Phillies, a few of us are engaged in normal activities, like seeing if candidate's names are ever incorrectly spelled in the newspapers.
In researching the 157th state house race, between Democrat Paul Drucker and Republican Guy Ciarrocchi, I ran across a rather odd footnote in Ciarrocchi's past that hasn't, to my knowledge, been mentioned recently.
Here's where I started:
She was asked why she had never been invited to Joe's family's home. Her answer indicated that, indeed, she hadn't and that Joe had always told her he didn't like the home and didn't care for his father.
"When I realized that Guy (Ciarocchi, Joe Waldholtz's closest friend) hadn't been to Joe's home either, it seemed to make sense."
But Joe Waldholtz said Enid had visited and in fact stayed at his father's relatively modest split-level home on Darlington Avenue in Squirrel Hill. (Roddy, Dennis, “Politics, bedfellows Joe Waldholtz says he loves Enid, but will tell the truth,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2/11/1996)
The woman speaking is former Utah Congresswoman Enid Greene Waldholtz. She's talking about her then husband and campaign manager Joe Waldholtz, whose financial irregularities earned him some jail time and ended her congressional career. In addition to mismanaging campaign funds he embezzled from his family. But is Joe's Guy Ciarocchi the same as our Guy Ciarrocchi? Let's see.
Here's a brief history of Joe's political history in Pennsylvania:
He played roles ranging from volunteer to senior staffer in several GOP campaigns in the late 1980s, including those of unsuccessful Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Bill Scranton and now-Sen. Rick Santorum's House race.
Joe rose through the ranks of his native Allegheny County's Young Republicans, once offering a free trip to Washington to whoever registered the most Young Republicans in the suburban congressional district encircling Pittsburgh.
Joe became a senior aide and eventually chief of staff to Republican National Committeewoman Elsie Hillman, a personal confidante to President Bush. The post won Joe periodic visits to the White House -- and a taste for the trappings of national politics.
At 25, Joe held a top position with the Bush-Quayle campaign in 1988. Four years later, he was named executive director of Bush's 1992 Pennsylvania re-election bid, putting him in charge of strategy for a state with the fifth-largest block of electoral votes in the country. (Semerad, Tony, “Waldholtz: He Plays Hardball,” Salt Lake Tribune, 11/14/1995)
Where was Ciarrocchi during those years?
In 1987 he was president of the University of Pennsylvania College Republicans (Walsh, Edward, “Publicity and pressure focus on an uncommitted Sen. Specter,” Washington Post 9/29/1987). In 1988 Ciarrocchi was the national co-chairman of College Republicans and a law student at Villanova University. (Simmons, Rose, “Republicans are succeeding at attracting the young,” Inquirer 11/12/1988). Some time before 1992 he was the head of the Young Republicans of Pennsylvania (Hollman, Laurie, “Barbs, sparks, fur fly in S. Phila race,” Inquirer 10/19/1992). In 1994, he was working for then state senator Melissa Hart of the Pittsburgh area (Hammonds, Donald I., “Controversy rages over tax proposal in state senate,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/07/1994)
Back to Utah. When an warrant was issued for Waldholtz's arrest he disappeared for several days and then resurfaced as the friend, client and houseguest of Jeffery Liebmann, a lawyer living in the Philadelphia area (Harrie, Dan, Semerad, Tony and Maddox, Laurie Sullivan, “Blame Game: Joe May Cut A Deal, Turn Against Enid,” Salt Lake Tribune, 11/23/1995). Ciarrocchi and Liebmann were photographed together in a Wynnewood restaurant listening to Rush Limbaugh (Logan, Joe, “Limbaugh fans get a rush in new bonding experience,” Inquirer 7/14/1993).
So I think there is good reason to believe that Waldholtz's one time bff, Guy Ciarocch,i is the same as the 157th district Republican candidate Guy Ciarrocchi. Of course, the fact that Waldholtz's then estranged wife thought Ciarrocchi was his closest friend does not mean that Ciarrocchi viewed the relationship the same way. Does something this far back in Ciarrocchi's past have any bearing in the election? There are some other questions about Ciarrocchi's ethics, past and present (see whatkindofguy.com for examples). Ciarrocchi's campaign has a similar site about his opponent Paul Drucker (see slipandfallpaul.com). I found the Waldholtz connection while trying to verify and find a context for the claims on both of these sites. For the curious I did verify the information on Ciarrocchi's first house run in the early 1990's against Rep. Donatucci, the Archdiocese and HUD job experience. On the Drucker side, I did find that he was a lawyer on one of the suits the anti-Drucker site discusses but did not get much farther than that. Those who have qualms about Ciarrocchi might see the Waldholtz information as another example of questionable connections or behavior.
If time allows before the election I would like to write more about this race.