BREAKING: Stephens Drops Out of AG Race

Todd-StephensThe battle for the Republican nomination in the 2016 Attorney General race was set to be one of the most competitive contests next year.

Not anymore.

On Saturday, State Rep. Todd Stephens dropped out of the race. The decision seemed to be motivated by the show of support for State Sen. John Rafferty from the party establishment.

For instance, on Friday the Southeast Caucus Chairman Michael Meehan released the results of straw polls he commissioned in SEPA counties.

CountyStephensRaffertyVacant/Absent
Bucks0152
Chester1140
Delaware0151
Philadelphia1110

Shortly afterward, Rafferty won straw polls among the Southwest and Northwest Caucuses by 31-26 and 35-4 margins respectively.

According to the Rafferty campaign, they held a 162 to 82 advantage in the fight for the party’s formal endorsement which was set to be voted on at their winter meeting in January.

“With today’s votes, it’s clear Senator Rafferty will have the votes he needs to win the endorsement,” Stephens stated in a message to supporters and the press. “I want to congratulate him on his win, and thank him for a spirited contest for the endorsement. It’s clear that his four years of hard work preparing to run paid off.”

He also thanked all the officials who endorsed him, a considerable list that included Speaker Turzai and Majority Leader Reed as well as State Sen. Scott Wagner. In fact, earlier this month Stephens won the straw poll of the Republican Central Caucus.

Nonetheless, Rafferty appears to be the presumptive GOP nominee for Attorney General.

“I want to applaud and thank Rep. Todd Stephens for running a spirited campaign for the endorsement and I look forward to working with him to restore credibility and competency to the Office of Attorney General,” Rafferty stated. “With the strong support I have received so far, I am confident that my campaign will successfully earn the endorsement of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and win the election this November.”

December 19th, 2015 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 25 Comments

25 thoughts on “BREAKING: Stephens Drops Out of AG Race”

  1. Merissa says:

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  2. rsklaroff says:

    {Because the initial posting didn’t immediately upload – due to the hyperlinks, probably – the “http”-antecedents were deleted and, voilà, it posted instantly. Simultaneously, SS was approving the former but, because the opportunity to edit it (a bit) led to its being slightly reorganized, the second version is preferable. Thus, I asked SS to delete the first one; if he doesn’t, then this note explains the slight redundancy.}

  3. rsklaroff says:

    @ Guzzardi:

    Buried in your anti-Rafferty posting is a run-on sentence that requires probing context, c/o your blogging website, so that the reader can gain an appreciation of how your ideas are formulated…and have [somewhat] evolved.

    Your parenthetical comment [“AG Kane’s botched (I give her the benefit of the doubt) Turnpike Pay to Play prosecution gave us some insight into how the dark net works”] appears to suggest that [1]–the Turnpike Scandal provided insight, and [2]–you “gave her the benefit of the doubt” regarding her “botched” prosecution thereof.

    It is the second elision that is problematic, not only because of your unabashed support for AG-Kane [until your belated, recent transition] AND because of your contemporaneous blogs.

    *

    You properly decried the turnpike scandal.

    thelibertyblog.org/2014/01/04/pennsylvania-turnpiketolls-driven-by-redistributing-the-tolls-and-corruption/

    You then averred that “DA Kane is good choice as an INDEPENDENT of the Harrisburg Establishment Insiders of both parties.”

    politicspa.com/breaking-bill-clinton-endorses-kane-for-ag/33207/

    But you later wavered: “It appears that Kathleen Kane is in over her head. Her credentials were thin to begin with but she wasn’t tied to Corbett the way that Dave Freed was. Kathleen Kane may well be unqualified to be AG. Let us see what happens to the Turnpike ‘pay to play’ case and to the Spanier, Schultz and Curly trial. If she loses either or both, it will be more evidence of her incompetence.”

    thelibertyblog.org/2014/07/20/kathleen-kanes-competence-v-republican-fecklessness-2016/

    Also note that you changed-your-tune regarding Josh Shapiro, for you had previously condemned him.

    thelibertyblog.org/2011/11/02/shapirorichards-the-record-they-cant-be-trusted-with-money/

    *

    Thus, knowing all that has occurred with AG-Kane, your expression of sympathy for her is rooted more in your [evolving] effort to maintain your outsider-mien than on the [static] facts.

    This, in turn, cannot be separated from your ongoing retroactive effort to justify your gubernatorial run; had you “healed,” you would now be as clear-sighted as you used to be.

    Recognizing that your-guy Gale prevailed, how long need your public wait for you to return to a status that would permit readers to trust you inherently, as we all used to do, until you quit the ’14 race [rather than challenging the PA-Supremes’ unjustified-dumping, in federal court]?

  4. rsklaroff says:

    @ Guzzardi:

    Buried in your anti-Rafferty posting is a run-on sentence that requires probing context, c/o your blogging website, so that the reader can gain an appreciation of how your ideas are formulated…and have evolved.

    *

    Your parenthetical comment [“AG Kane’s botched (I give her the benefit of the doubt) Turnpike Pay to Play prosecution gave us some insight into how the dark net works”] appears to suggest that [1]–the Turnpike Scandal provided insight, and [2]–you “gave her the benefit of the doubt” regarding her “botched” prosecution thereof.

    It is the second elision that is problematic, not only because of your unabashed support for AG-Kane [until your belated, recent transition] AND because of your contemporaneous blogs.

    “DA Kane is good choice as an INDEPENDENT of the Harrisburg Establishment Insiders of both parties.”

    http://www.politicspa.com/breaking-bill-clinton-endorses-kane-for-ag/33207/

    Also note that you changed-your-tune regarding Josh Shapiro, for you had condemned him.

    http://thelibertyblog.org/2011/11/02/shapirorichards-the-record-they-cant-be-trusted-with-money/

    You properly decried the turnpike scandal.

    http://thelibertyblog.org/2014/01/04/pennsylvania-turnpiketolls-driven-by-redistributing-the-tolls-and-corruption/

    But you later wavered: “It appears that Kathleen Kane is in over her head. Her credentials were thin to begin with but she wasn’t tied to Corbett the way that Dave Freed was. Kathleen Kane may well be unqualified to be AG. Let us see what happens to the Turnpike ‘pay to play’ case and to the Spanier, Schultz and Curly trial. If she loses either or both, it will be more evidence of her incompetence.”

    *

    Thus, knowing all that has occurred with AG-Kane, your expression of sympathy for her is rooted more in your effort to maintain your outsider-mien than on the facts.

    This, in turn, cannot be separated from your ongoing retroactive effort to justify your gubernatorial run; had you “healed,” you would now be as clear-sighted as you used to be.

    How long need your public wait for you to return to a status that would permit readers to trust you inherently, as we all used to do, until you quit the race [rather than challenging the PA-Supremes’ unjustified-dumping, in federal court]?

    http://thelibertyblog.org/2014/07/20/kathleen-kanes-competence-v-republican-fecklessness-2016/

  5. Chet royer says:

    The comments here are right on. The GOP is following their tank playbook they developed in the Supreme Court race. Senator Rafferty is a congenial fellow who would have attracted labor support, but Stephens was the stronger candidate. You have to wonder what is going on?

  6. french montana says:

    Love you guzzardi, but Rafferty is the only kind of R you can find in the southeast and one of the few who is moderate enough to get the votes around the big cities that you need. The crazies may be great down ballot, but the last two Novembers should show you that statewide is it’s own beast that the D’s have locked up. With Rafferty you have Philly name recognition which will go a long way into cutting into what is likely a strong year with hillary and probably mcginty at the top of the ticket on the left.

  7. bobguzzardi says:

    Senator Wagner’s support was a surprise.

    Here is what Senator Wagner said about Sen. Rafferty with regard to his opposition to Paycheck Protection:

    “It was also not a surprise to me that Senator John Rafferty voted no on the amendment – in the ten months I have served in the PA State Senate I have found Senator Rafferty to be the most disingenuous member of the Republican Caucus.

    To be honest and direct, I have watched Senator Rafferty repeatedly undermine our new leadership – Senator Rafferty is self-serving and badly wants to be Pennsylvania’s Attorney General.” http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=b4122999573b324c408249a34&id=a37dbb1704&e

  8. bobguzzardi says:

    Does anyone know how MontCo caucus voted on this endorsement?

  9. bobguzzardi says:

    John Rafferty has won the endorsement of the Gleason -Network of incompetent,self-serving losers. Gleason-Asher Long Nyquist, Zaborney, GID, Hallowell Branstetter have turned losing into a profit center for themselves.

    It mystifies why any donor would donate to a candidates employing these self-absorbed losers but then I don’t know the dark net of relationships and favors.(AG Kane’s botched (I give her the benefit of the doubt) Turnpike Pay to Play prosecution gave us some insight into how the dark net works). I do know that the benefits to rank and file Republicans and to citizens of Pennsylvania are limited; a few benefit at the expense of the many.

    Other than the obvious, that is, that Democrats swept the statewide Appellate Court elections as well as the 2014 governor’s election and the 2012 statewide contests for state row offices, there is the fact that John Rafferty credentials as a prosecutor and as an administrator are, to be polite, thin, very thin, transparently inadequate.

    Both Allegheny County DA Stephen Zappala and Northampton DA John Morganelli have years of prosecutorial experience as well as years of managing a prosecutor’s office. In John Morganelli’s case, he has tried death penalty cases to verdict. I don’t know the extent of Stephen Zappala’s courtroom experience but his successful prosecution of former Senator, and now convicted felon, Joan Orie, is impressive.

    The third potential Democrat, Josh Shapiro has years of administrative experience as a county commissioner.

    Measure for measure, any declared Democrat is more qualified than John Rafferty who has had minimal prosecutorial experience and that was many, many years ago and no administrative experience.

    I have never met Stephen Zappala or John Morganelli but I have met Josh Shapiro and while charisma is an overstatement, he does have an energetic, stage presence. John Rafferty does not exude high energy; lackluster would be, in my view, an accurate description of his persona.

    So let us see if Gleason Asher and their incestuous insider network can, once again, bamboozle the rank and file Republican base to contribute time and money and, sadly, their credibility to yet another Republican loser.

  10. John Galt says:

    Rafferty is the definition of an empty suit career politician.

  11. jim says:

    @Scott is on the money. The same GOP state committee that nominated and underfunded the loser slate of judicial candidates this year and Corbett’s re-election last year are at it again. Rafferty will be easily cast as part of the failed, tax and spend legislature. He voted for Corbett’s gas tax and the “framework” budget. Barring a Trump landslide, Mr. Zappala can start measuring for the drapes in his new office.

  12. Dwight Schrute says:

    It must be very disappointing to Senator Rafferty that the D.A. from Allegheny County jumped in the race. Without Zappala Rafferty would have had a ton of labor support. Zappala is the only Democrat who can run the table with labor against Rafferty in the General Election.

  13. Frank says:

    shouldn’t the votes of the voter be what Stephens was looking for? not the same old party establishment. GOP has no shot w/o a fair primary election.

  14. Cyndi says:

    Stephens knew Rafferty was going to get the endorsement from day one. Rafferty was promised it a long time ago by the party. The only reason Stephens withdrew is because Zapalla entered the race and he knows he can’t beat him. This is just a weak Stephens trying to save face until it’s “his turn” with the party. It’s no wonder the Republican party is in such shambles.

  15. Scott says:

    These state committee people are a joke and nothing but a bunch of sheep. They can’t think for themselves! They did the same thing with the judicial races and look what happened. Stephens must be a party hack too for crumbling so quickly and I’m disappointed he dropped out. He clearly has no you know what and we certainly don’t want an AG that is afraid to do what is right. I’m sure the democrats are sending him lots of Christmas presents!!

  16. backroomgirl says:

    Are the same people that mocked Rafferty over the Robbins’s support, the ones that are slamming him again? Goes to show what your website know it alls know. Northwest PAGOP big for Rafferty on NW thanks to Robbins. Now he’ll clean up statewide while Dems fight it out.

  17. 662 says:

    congrats to Long Nyquist. They are proving yet again to be the go to team if you want to run for office in PA as a Republican.

  18. Rollo thomassey says:

    With the Zappala crime family’s water boy behind Stephens, he was set to be double crossed anyway. Thankfully, the Pgh. Mob’s candidate won’t even file after the “kids for cash”, Jordan Miles, turnpike corruption and NEPA airport chickens come home to roost.

  19. B.J. says:

    Yes, a former Deputy Pennsylvania Attorney General totally lacks the experience to be Attorney General. LOL

  20. Tired says:

    Congratulations to the GOP for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. After the entire state watched the meltdown of an AG with ALMOST no prosecutorial experience, they choose a candidate with NO prosecutorial experience at all. The southeast power brokers who chose Tom Corbett doomed the GOP again. Good job Mr Asher and Mr DiGiorgio; hope your personal payoff is worth it.

  21. Dem says:

    Congratulations to John Rafferty for winning the bid to get destroyed by the Democratic candidate in the fall. If you ask me, Stephens is the real winner here. He doesn’t have to waste his time running around the state over the next year only to get killed in the general with Donald Trump/Ted Cruz on the top of the ticket.

  22. Here we go again says:

    The Republican State Committee took issue with HB 300/1510. It appears because Rep. Stephens doesn’t support discrimination against homosexuals, the Republican State Committee deemed him unfit for office. How ironic.

    Zappala will destroy Rafferty in the Fall. Get ready for another GOP statewide loss at the hands of the party establishment. They have a tremendous track record…

  23. spongebob says:

    That sentence had bizarre emphasis via capitalization

  24. Pittsburgh Rocks says:

    CONGRATULATIONS TO MR. Rafferty. He will make an outstanding AG.

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