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The coming Kane mutiny

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Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, 8:47 p.m.
 

HARRISBURG

The stars aligned for Democrat Kathleen Kane. Everything seemed to break her way in the race for state attorney general when she defeated Republican David Freed by 14 percentage points last week.

President Barack Obama carried the state. Her gender was a factor in a state that has never had a female top prosecutor. She had residual name recognition from the primary election, in which she spent $2 million of family money on TV ads and defeated a tough opponent in former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who had backing of labor and big-name state Democrats. Kane even had Bill Clinton's endorsement.

In raw votes, Kane's 3 million total exceeded those of Obama and Sen. Bobby Casey on Tuesday.

That's not too shabby for a former assistant DA from Lackawanna County.

Kane wasn't a pol. That helped. Her message was she'll be independent.

She also struck a nerve with many Pennsylvanians, especially Penn State loyalists, when she said she would conduct an investigation into Tom Corbett's handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse case.

In effect, she ran against the former AG and current governor. It didn't hurt that Freed was Corbett's “handpicked” candidate, as she put it.

Bring it on, Corbett says. It was a by-the-book investigation that resulted in Sandusky's conviction on 45 counts and brought an effective life sentence for the 68-year-old ex-assistant football coach.

Investigations of investigations are unusual, to say the least. There should be at least some suspicion of prosecutory misconduct. There isn't. But Kane says Pennsylvanians want answers on why it took 33 months.

The nerve Kane struck is that average Pennsylvanians see teachers accused of molesting a child hauled off in handcuffs the next day; Corbett waited to get overwhelming evidence — 10 victims.

Was the arrest delayed to get past the November 2010 election won by Corbett? Or just an effort to be exceedingly thorough? Corbett says not one person will say he told them to delay. But were there hurdles and unspoken messages to slow it down?

Do we now face the prospect of a sitting governor being subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury to testify?

On election night, Corbett fired a warning shot — he said he expects Kane and Democrat Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to do their jobs, follow the Constitution and not engage in partisan politics.

Brad Bumsted is the state Capitol reporter for Trib Total Media (717-787-1405 or bbumsted@tribweb.com).

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