One of the most bizarre political stories of 2006 went largely ignored by the left-leaning Pennsylvania media.
Could the reason for the lack of coverage be that the story involved Democratic Party dirty tricks? Imagine if a Republican was behind the allegations. The liberal Pennsylvania media would be falling over itself to cover the story.
The only reporter who has been on top of the story is Margaret Gibbons, who covers the Montgomery County Courthouse for several Journal Register Co. newspapers, including The Mercury.
Here's some details from Gibbons' latest story:
Formal charges were filed Jan. 25 against a Democratic poll worker for allegedly sending numerous harassing text messages to the campaign cell phone of the field director for the ultimately unsuccessful campaign of 70th District state House candidate Netta Young Hughes.
The Montgomery County District Attorney's office charged Jacqueline A. Kilroy, 51, a homeless woman from Philadelphia who was used by the Hughes campaign as a poll greeter in Towamencin on Election Day, with ethnic intimidation and stalking.
The charges stem from racist, sexually explicit and obscene text messages sent from a disposable pre-paid cell phone to the campaign cell phone of field director John Campbell.
The latest charge involved a report she filed with authorities alleging that Hughes' Republican opponent and the eventual winner in the contest — Jay R. Moyer — made racial slurs against Hughes at the polling place.
A subsequent investigation by local police and county detectives, including interviews with both Democratic and Republican committee people working that poll on Election Day, determined that Moyer was not at the polling place at the various times Kilroy alleged the slurs were made.
"The fact that this type of tactic was used in my race is abhorrent and extremely disappointing," Moyer said. "I do not use these kinds of racial and sexual slurs myself and I would certainly not tolerate them from anyone working on my behalf."
The story has its roots in the November 2006 race for the open seat in the 70th House District, but several important developments have occurred this month.
The original story, reported by Gibbons, involved accusations of racism directed at Republican candidate Moyer, who narrowly defeated Hughes to win a two-year term in the Pennsylvania legislature.
From the start, Moyer denied any knowledge or involvement of the alleged racial intimidation.
The twist here is that a Democrat poll worker made up the allegations in an effort to hurt Moyer's campaign.
Last week, Montgomery County authorities arrested Kilroy, who is accused of lying to Montgomery County detectives when she claimed that she heard Moyer make racial slurs directed at Hughes, who is black.
Authorities suspected all along that Kilroy was responsible for a second racial complaint filed in connection with that campaign, Gibbons reported.
"We believe that Jacqueline Kilroy is responsible for the racial text messages," Montgomery County Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. told Gibbons. "Jay Moyer and his campaign workers had absolutely nothing to do with either incident."
Kilroy is facing a misdemeanor charge of making false reports to law enforcement officers. She is free on bail. Whether she will show up for a March court hearing is another story.
Kilroy, who is white and listed the county's homeless shelter as her address, was paid by the Hughes campaign to work the Towamencin 2-3 poll on Election Day, according to Gibbons' article. She subsequently alleged that Moyer, who is white, made ethnically disparaging remarks about Hughes when Moyer supposedly visited the polling site, Gibbons reported.
Montgomery County detectives obtained statements from GOP and Democratic poll workers that Moyer was not at the poll during the various alleged times Kilroy claimed to have heard the remarks, according to the criminal complaint.
Kilroy, who was taken into custody Jan. 17, is facing additional charges alleging she was the source of expletive-filled text messages containing both racial and sexual slurs that were sent to the cell phone of another Democratic campaign worker, according to Castor.
Moyer, a former county treasurer from Lower Salford, defeated Hughes by 103 votes, 10,912 votes to 10,809 votes. That's how close this race was and the phony allegations could have tipped the race to the Democrat.
Moyer, who was sworn in as a state representative on Jan. 2, held a press conference with Castor this week to announce he will sponsor legislation requiring that identification be produced by and then recorded for those purchasing disposable, pre-paid cell phones.
Castor said the reason his investigation into the Kilroy matter took so long was the problem detectives had in tying Kilroy to the text messages because they were made from a disposable cell phone, according to a follow-up article by Gibbons.
Identifying the users of disposable cell phones by backtracking to their purchasers is not a new problem for authorities, Castor said.
"This has been an ongoing problem for us, especially with drug dealers doing this," Castor said. "Drug dealers are running a business and need to be able to communicate with their customers. This is an ideal way to escape detection from us."
Early on in the Kilroy investigation, authorities knew that a pre-paid cell phone was used and had the number of the cell phone, but because stores are not required to keep the names of purchasers, they could not immediately link the phone to Kilroy, Castor told Gibbons.
Castor, who is vice president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, said he intends to gain that organization's support for the legislation at their meeting in February, now that it appears to be moving forward, according to Gibbons' article.
"We have been trying to get the Legislature interested in the issue," Castor said. "When it happens to one of their own, it is amazing how quickly they move."
If a Republican was facing charges of voter intimidation or making ethnic slurs toward a candidate, the story would have been on the front page of every newspaper in Pennsylvania, especially the ultra-left Philadelphia Inquirer. But since this is all about Democrat dirty tricks, good luck finding any mention of this story.
And isn't it amazing how few complaints of voter fraud we had for the November 2006 elections? Could it be that this was a "fair election" because so many Democrats won?
Why is it that we need to have recounts and court challenges and investigations of voter fraud allegations only when Republicans win elections? File this one under liberal media bias.