The political ghost of the late John D'Orazio has been brought into the race for the marginal seat of Morley after the former MP's son urged support for Liberal incumbent Ian Britza in a full-page newspaper advertisement.
Greg D'Orazio begins the open letter to voters, published in the Eastern Reporter yesterday, by recapping his father's decision to run as an independent and direct preferences - and ultimately the seat - to Mr Britza in 2008.
"It was only after Ian was elected that my father firmed in his opinion that Ian was exactly what Morley needed," it said.
A minister in the Carpenter Labor government and member for Ballajura, the late Mr D'Orazio became embroiled in controversy when he was referred to as the "godfather" in a Corruption and Crime Commission hearing.
He was pushed out of the party by then premier Alan Carpenter in 2006 amid scandals about him losing his driver's licence and not paying the superannuation of staff at his Morley pharmacy.
Mr D'Orazio rejoined Labor two years later, only to resign and stand unsuccessfully as an independent in the new seat of Morley.
Mr D'Orazio died in 2011, battling a rare illness and while having a defibrillator fitted.
Greg D'Orazio's letter urges voters to support a man "who not only lives in Morley but is committed to our electorate for all the honourable reasons that we expect our representative to exhibit and possess".
Labor candidate Reece Whitby, who lost to Mr Britza in 2008, was criticised at the time for not living in the electorate, though Labor leader Mark McGowan said yesterday he now did.
Mr Whitby and Mr Britza did not return calls and Greg D'Orazio could not be reached. It is unclear who paid for the advertisement.
Political analyst Harry Phillips said the "D'Orazio factor" was still at play, though he expected only about half of his 16 per cent primary vote in 2008 would go to Mr Britza. "His personal vote was in it last time," he said. "Now it's just the cause."
Premier Colin Barnett described John D'Orazio yesterday as a leader of the Italian community."John got caught up in some business issues," he said. "He left Cabinet. I think the way in which the Labor Party hounded him . . . was not a proper way of conducting the relationship."