Early Returns readers know full well how seriously some local Democrats take the Dem committee endorsement this Sunday. One candidate for county controller, Valerie McDonald Roberts, is going so far as to give Republicans a roadmap to beating one of her opponents -- George Matta -- should he be the party's nominee in the fall.

Alternatively, she may be making the path of the third Democrat in the race, Chelsa Wagner, a whole lot easier.

McDonald Roberts sent the scathing letter below to all 2,500-odd members of the county committee yesterday, rehashing county lawsuits against Matta going back to 1999 that alleged the former Clerk of Courts used racial epithets against county employees -- suits that ended up costing the county $461,992 in payouts. (The Post-Gazette's Rich Lord covered the matter in this 2003 story for Pittsburgh City Paper.)

The letter reads in part:

Think I 'm being hard on George? Wait till you see the GOP negative campaign effort working at full speed. They don't have to dig for the facts, they're already entirely on the public record . I'm not gving them any red meat they don't already have. They 're just waiting for the chance to use it.

Former PPG executive Bob Howard is expected to run for controller on the GOP side.

Here's the full letter:

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