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Candidate Hires TV News Helicopter

October 23, 1998

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A Republican candidate for Congress hired a TV news helicopter to shoot video of his opponent’s home, drawing complaints that the hovering chopper terrorized the Democrat’s family.

Mike Turzai, a 39-year-old lawyer, said his campaign hired NBC-affiliate WPXI’s helicopter to show that Rep. Ron Klink built an expensive home since he was elected in 1992.

``Ron Klink, after getting elected to Congress, moved into a mansion. And we think that’s a legitimate inquiry with respect to the voters,″ Turzai told a competing TV station.

However, Turzai said nothing would come of the attempted videotaping.

``We never got the footage, so we’re not going to be using it for anything,″ he said.

Klink aide Joseph Brimmeier called Turzai’s tactics harassment.

``Ron Klink’s family, his two young children, their neighbors were scared to death Monday. How would you like a helicopter for 45 minutes to an hour hovering over your home?″ Brimmeier said.

Klink’s son shot footage of the helicopter Monday evening, the congressman’s office said. WTAE-TV, the ABC affiliate in Pittsburgh, broadcast that footage on Thursday.

WPXI’s general manager, John Howell, told WTAE: ``The pilot was supposed to be working for us full-time. We found out the hard way he wasn’t.″ The station’s logo is painted on the helicopter.

Neither Howell nor WPXI news director Jennifer Rigby immediately returned calls from The Associated Press.

Klink has raised more than 10 times as much money for the election as Turzai and enjoys a near 2-to-1 registration edge in the congressional district in suburban Pittsburgh.

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