Pa. attorney general candidates stress differences from Kane

    Pennsylvania state Sen. John Rafferty (left) and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke

    Pennsylvania state Sen. John Rafferty (left) and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro (AP Photo/Matt Rourke

    It’s been a bumpy few weeks for leadership in the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office.

    Kathleen Kane has resigned, and her first deputy Bruce Castor has taken over. But Gov. Tom Wolf has nominated his inspector general to the position.

    The candidates vying to be elected as Pennsylvania’s attorney General are taking pains to distance themselves from the tumult in the office.

    Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican John Rafferty both called the Kane scandal a “sad chapter” for the state.

    Wes Leckrone, associate professor of political science at Widener University, noted that because the candidates didn’t have close ties to Kane, neither is likely to be overly affected by the recent events.

    But he said those events will still impact campaign messaging going forward.

    “I think what the real issue will come down to, is kind of this idea of experience,” he said. “And perhaps Rafferty uses that to say, you know we don’t want another young, inexperienced person who’s trying to forge their way into a higher office.”

    Rafferty is a four-term state senator from Montgomery County. Shapiro is chairman of the  Montgomery County commissioners, and he also served in the state House.

    Leckrone added that Kane actually might have done the candidates a favor by stepping down.

    “I think it always makes it a lot easier when you don’t have the specter of some kind of controversy hanging over your head while you’re running an election,” he said.

    “You know, when we come back and really the campaign gets started in earnest after Labor Day, there won’t be any Kane there,” he said.

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