2016 race for Pa. attorney general off to an early start

     State Sen. John Rafferty, R-Montgomery, formally announces his campaign for Pennsylvania attorney general. Rafferty said the early launch of his campaign in the 2016 race allows him more time to raise money. (Mary Wilson/WHYY)

    State Sen. John Rafferty, R-Montgomery, formally announces his campaign for Pennsylvania attorney general. Rafferty said the early launch of his campaign in the 2016 race allows him more time to raise money. (Mary Wilson/WHYY)

    A Republican state senator has officially announced his bid to take the state’s Office of Attorney General from the embattled Kathleen Kane, the first Democrat to win the seat.

    Sen. John Rafferty, R-Montgomery, made his announcement Wednesday flanked by fellow GOP state senators, police and firefighters union leaders, and other representatives of law enforcement.

    “They’re either state troopers, FOP members, some of the Lodge 5 folks are here, corrections is here,” said Rafferty, pointing to men who had lined the wall next to his podium at the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association Headquarters outside of Harrisburg.

    Acknowledging his announcement is early, Rafferty said next year’s ballot will be crowded with other high-profile races. Launching the campaign earlier gives him more time to raise money while other potential candidates ponder entering the race.

    The fourth-term senator and former deputy attorney general made allusions to the controversies surrounding Kane. She’s under threat of indictment for allegedly leaking secret grand jury information to a newspaper to embarrass a political rival.

    Rafferty said he wants to remove the “black cloud” over the office and bring it “back to stability.”

    He launched a short-lived campaign for the seat in 2011, but backed out when then-Gov. Tom Corbett supported another Republican candidate.

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