Voters' feelings about Corbett could affect Pa. attorney general race
HARRISBURG — David Freed hopes to become the fifth consecutive Republican attorney general since the post became an elected position three decades ago. Democrat Kathleen Kane wants to break that dominance.
Their powerful allies have weighed in on the race, in which the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal at Penn State University continues to serve as a debate theme. Political strategists say voters' feelings for Gov. Tom Corbett, who as attorney general started the Sandusky investigation, could play a role in the Nov. 6 election.
People disappointed with the Republican governor might “register their discontent and vote for Kane,” said Tom Baldino, a political science professor at Wilkes University. A Quinnipiac University poll this week showed voters disapprove of Corbett's job performance by a 42 percent to 38 percent margin.
Freed, 42, the Cumberland County district attorney, is vying to win the office held by his father-in-law, LeRoy Zimmerman, from 1981-89.
“It's the opportunity to help more people than I've been able to help as a district attorney,” Freed said. The office oversees not just criminal prosecutions, but also consumer protection and civil actions, he said.
Kane, a former assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County, would be the first woman to win election to the office. Corbett appointed Linda Kelly of Edgewood to finish his term when he became governor in January 2011, and Ann X. Alpern was an appointed attorney general from 1959 through part of 1961.
“As a prosecutor, I was able to make a difference. It helped bring justice to people,” said Kane, 46, of Clarks Summit. “It's a great responsibility, and I loved it.”
Both tout their records as prosecutors, but Freed said his experience is broader as an elected district attorney who directed investigations and made tough calls. Kane said voters “want a prosecutor, not a bureaucrat.”
Marakay Rogers, a York attorney, is the Libertarian candidate for attorney general. Rogers did not return the Tribune-Review's phone calls.
Former President Bill Clinton endorsed Kane in the Democratic primary and attended an Oct.1 fundraiser for her.
Corbett cleared the primary field for Freed and included him on the slate he wanted the GOP state committee to endorse. Freed ran opposed.
Corbett's critics question whether he devoted adequate resources to the Sandusky case and ask why it took three years to arrest Sandusky. A jury convicted the former defensive football coach of molesting 10 boys over 15 years and a judge this month sentenced Sandusky to 30 to 60 years in prison.
“I'm disturbed by the undercurrent,” Baldino said of the case's role in the race. “I'm not surprised by it. I'm disappointed. ... There's a lot of innuendo.”
Corbett has said he used a grand jury, which meets one week per month, to investigate so he could compel testimony of reluctant witnesses.
Kane, a former sex crimes prosecutor, said one confirmed report would have been enough to arrest Sandusky. Kane said she would investigate how the office handled the case.
Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said Kane is arguing about the investigation solely for political purposes. Imagine the uproar had Corbett charged Sandusky with one count and lost the case, Harley said.
Freed praised the investigation but said he would review it. Kane claims Freed has been inconsistent with his responses on the matter.
“It was a strong conviction and sentence. I understand there are questions out there. I don't think a judgment can be made beforehand. I'd want to learn everything I could about it,” Freed said.
Freed said he would recuse himself from an investigation of the Hershey Trust, where his father-in-law, Zimmerman, was a key figure before resigning from the charity. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported an attorney general's investigation of questionable trust land deals. Zimmerman is not accused of wrongdoing.
Pennsylvania Cable Network will air an Oct. 22 debate between Freed and Kane at 7 and 10 p.m. and at 9 the following morning.
Brad Bumsted is state Capitol reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 717-787-1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL finds Patriots employees probably deflated balls
- Steelers’ fourth-round pick Grant relies on smarts to get job done
- Butler County man accused of selling deadly drugs
- Ligonier Township mourns K-9 officer killed in wrong-way crash
- Highmark to pay disputed claims filed by rival UPMC
- Rossi: Not too early to go with Kang
- Analysis: Chlorine to curb Legionnaires’ eating away at pipes at VA sites
- Capt. Wild Bill, Luke Wholey team up for seafood fundraiser in Pittsburgh
- Birth adds to Fayette County man’s collection of miniature horses
- No Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs or Do-si-dos for Washington Township residents
- Habitat for Humanity to close Edgewood ReStore store, donation center