Editor's Note: The statements below were received after the original story was posted
Wheatley’s campaign responded to the websites in a statement from campaign manager Brandi Taylor:
“It is truly unfortunate that Ms. Wolfe continues to stoop to this low level. First she blamed everyone else for why she was soundly defeated in the endorsement of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee and now she has resorted to an amateurish tactic of buying old website domains.
“Additionally, Jake Wheatley has directly addressed the matter of his family with the people of the 19th District on multiple occasions. The voters recognize that, have witnessed his family grow much stronger and have continued to vote for him to serve their best interests.
“Our advice for Ms. Wolfe would be to instead spend her time trying to produce constructive ideas on the economy, education and many of the issues facing the hardworking families of our community.”
In a phone interview with City Paper, Wolfe explained her campaign’s motivations for purchasing the domain names.
“I purchased them because I knew it would be a strategic advantage. He reuses his campaign literature from election to election and it all has jakeforstate.com
] on it,” Wolfe says. “I knew it would anger him a little bit and throw him off a little. And I knew it would force him to redo his campaign literature.
“I think Jake has a long but not so well-documented history of being outside of the societal norms as far as his behavior. He’s been in trouble with the law a number of times. He purports himself to be a rehabilitated figure. He has this narrative that he’s a changed person. If you take a step back and look at his public story, he’s constantly having these mistakes and missteps with the law that have to do with being aggressive and bullying. He’s not a positive figure.”
Wolfe goes on to say that the redirects to the KDKA story and blog are her way of “collecting these stories” and she doesn’t “think collecting the truth is dirty.”
Wolfe’s husband, Ken Wolfe, was a former staffer for Wheatley.
www.jakeforstate.com redirects to this article
District 19 state Rep. Jake Wheatley is probably wishing this morning that he would have renewed all of his old campaign websites.
Jessica Wolfe, the only challenger remaining against Wheatley, bought those domains and is using them to post not-so-flattering stories about the incumbent. Two of the websites now redirect to Wolfe's campaign website and another redirects to a May 2012 KDKA article
about a domestic violence incident involving Wheatley and his then fiance.
In a message exchange with a City Paper
reporter, Wolfe says "...he did not feel that it was important to keep up the licensing on his campaign and personal websites. If you visit jakeforstate.com
it might give you a clue as to who has ownership over those domains."
We reached out to Wheatley's campaign who said they would be reviewing the sites. We will update this blog when we get a comment. If you're wondering, Wheatley's actual campaign website can be found here
Wolfe says her campaign purchased the domain names "[a]bout 8 months ago...[w]ell before Trump did it to Jeb." Wolfe is referencing the United States presidential election where Republican candidate Donald Trump recently purchased former candidate Jeb Bush's domain name when Bush's campaign let the domain name license lapse.
Wolfe went on to add that her campaign also purchased jake4state.com
, a website that now redirects to a blog entitled "Lavelle Truth." The post it redirects to is originally from a now-defunct blog called Pittsburgh Hoagie, which was run by Matt Hogue, a former Pittsburgh City Council staffer, who had his own legal problems
Wheatley and Wolfe will face off in the upcoming April primary election for the 19th legislative district seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.