First GOP challenger to enter Pennsylvania Attorney General race

Charles Mostoller

State Sen. John Rafferty will officially announce his challenge toembattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

The suburban Philadelphia Republican is expected to make the announcementWednesday at the headquarters of the Pennsylvania State Police Association, the union representing state police. He’ll be joined by the president of the state troopers’ union, the president of the PennsylvaniaFraternal Order of Police and the head of the state firefighters’ union.

Though Democrats and women have been appointed to serve asthe state’s Attorney General, Kane is the first woman and first Democrat to be elected to the statewide office.

Her tenure has been marked by a series of controversies.

She rode to office on promises that she would review the state’s investigation into former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky,an announcement that rubbed many investigators and prosecutors who worked the case the wrong way.

She suffered additional setbacks when the the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that she had declined to prosecute a corruption probe involving Philadelphia Democrats, saying the case was poorly managed and may have been tainted by racism. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, a fellow Democrat who is black, secured a fourth guilty plea in that case last week.

Lastly, prosecutors in Montgomery County are still deciding whether to charge Kane with leaking grand jury information and if she lied about disclosing that information.

In a press release announcing his campaign event, Rafferty, a former deputy attorney general, says he has a record of strengthening drunk driving and prescription drug abuse laws. His campaign also says he has fought to ensure police and firefighters have resources and do their jobs.

Political observers have already begun to wonder whether Kane will face a challenge from within the Democratic party.

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