This is awkward: Forgotten daughter roils Delco Senate contest

    This kind of thing makes me squirm.

    A Pennsylvania Senate race with statewide implications rages for weeks in Delaware County, and the thing that finally gets a lot of media attention is a messy family situation. But the particulars make this a story worth covering.

    A Maryland woman has taken Democratic candidate John Kane to task for ads touting him as a family man, saying she’s his forgotten daughter from a relationship he had decades ago.

    Kane isn’t accused of anything illegal or even unusual. He fathered an out-of-wedlock child as a young man. But Kristin Holgerson’s complaint in a Facebook post that Kane has avoided contact with her has some resonance because of his campaign ad (above) showcasing his family.

    Four of Kane’s children have speaking roles in the 30-second spot. Holgerson said in a Facebook post that “that commercial is missing someone — me.” This was first reported by Philadelphia magazine, which quoted Holgerson as saying she was troubled when she saw Kane’s ad.

    “Let’s be honest: I am upset,” she told the magazine. “It really bothers me. He’s this big family man, he’s got his children on TV, it’s crazy to me. The way I look at it, he’s a liar.”

    In a statement, the Kane campaign didn’t deny Holgerson is the candidate’s daughter, but said it’s a private matter of no relevance to the election.

    Muhlenberg College political analyst Chris Borick said while many voters don’t see family matters as legitimate campaign fodder, Kane’s ad makes this different.

    “If you are elevating your family history and family character, and there’s a counter-narrative out there, it does have some type of legitimate role in the discourse,” Borick said in an interview.

    The campaign of Kane’s Republican opponent, Delaware County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle, had no comment on the story. So far, no evidence has emerged suggesting Holgerson had any contact with Kane’s opposition or that they did anything to bring attention to her complaint.

    McGarrigle’s spokeswoman Virginia Davis told the Philadelphia Daily News the campaign had gotten an email about Holgerson’s post a few weeks ago, and “we responded that we would not be discussing the matter.”

    The Kane-McGarrigle battle has gotten plenty of attention and funding because Democrats are hoping to capture the seat being vacated by Republican Edwin “Ted” Erickson.

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