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PA Atty. Gen. Candidates Battle over Independence and Experience

It was independence versus experience as the Republican and Democratic candidates for Pennsylvania Attorney General tried to define the race on their own terms in Monday’s debate in Harisburg.  It was the only face-to-face meeting of Republican David Freed and Democrat Kathleen Kane during the campaign.  Libertarian Marakay Rogers was not part of the event.

For Kane, questions inevitably led to claims of independence.  The former Lackawanna County prosecutor said she stands on her own.

“The difference between my opponent and I (sic) is I was not handpicked by Tom Corbett.  I do not owe my candidacy to anyone,” said Kane. 

Freed, who does have Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s endorsement, tried to undermine the statement with a little humor.  “I must have missed the phone call when Governor Corbett called and handpicked me to run for Attorney General,” said Freed who ran unopposed in the primary.

Freed spent seven years as the District Attorney in Cumberland County and said he made the decision to run “based on my record and the breadth of experience I’ve gained as a D-A.”

During the debate Kane told the crowd she wants to beef up the A-G office’s public corruption unit and investigate the office’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case noting that if elected, she would not be above trying cases herself if she’s the most qualified prosecutor in the office.  Freed countered that such a statement shows her lack of experience. 

“I don’t think it’s realistic for an attorney general to put everything else aside and take that time that you need to take to prepare a case to bring that case to a jury,” said Freed.

Kane countered, “I think the people of Pennsylvania are worth the time.  I think the Jerry Sandusky show (pause) case was a perfect example.”

Freed said he would “review” the Sandusky the case.

Both candidates pledged not to run for any other office while serving as Attorney General.