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Dave Freed Announces for Attorney General

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Carlisle — In the crowded lobby of the Cumberland County courthouse, District Attorney Dave Freed launched his bid for Pa. Attorney General Tuesday afternoon. He repeatedly emphasized his record as a tough-on-crime prosecutor.

“The vast majority of my career has been spent prosecuting criminals. I’ve prosecuted capital murder cases, run grand jury investigations, taken down child pornographers, locked up drug dealers, child molesters and arsonists,” he said.

Freed was flanked by several of his colleagues – District Attorney James Martin of Lehigh County; Tom Kearney of York County; and Shawn Wagner of Adams County – and introduced by Ed Marisco of Dauphin County. His website boasts the endorsements of 20 Republican DAs from across the state.

He joins Pa. Senator John Rafferty (R-Montgomery), the only other declared Republican candidate.

Update: Washington County DA Steve Toprani, who had been considering an AG run, told PoliticsPA he is “enthusiastically supporting Freed.”

“Pennsylvanians want an Attorney General who is a practicing prosecutor,” Freed said. “They want a top law enforcement officer who has the experience to hit the ground running. And Pennsylvanians want a leader in the office who can navigate the need to be tough on crime, and smart on crime at the same time.”

He also said he would fight the implementation of the health care law. Freed has served in the DA’s office since 1998 and as DA since 2006.

Democrats in the race are Kathleen Kane, a former assistant DA from Lackawanna County; Dan McCaffery, a former assistant DA from Philadelphia, and Pat Murphy, a former Congressman from Bucks County.

Family Ties

Amy Freed, formerly Amy Zimmerman, stood behind her husband at the podium with their three children. Her father LeRoy Zimmerman – Pa.’s first elected Attorney General stood behind Freed’s right shoulder.

He also presents a possible conflict for Freed who, as AG, might be charged with overseeing a probe of Hershey charities – where Zimmerman served until recently. The Pa Democrats whacked Freed on the subject in a statement.

“David Freed is already bringing with him concerns of conflicts of interest before his campaign even begins. Pennsylvanians need to trust that their Attorney General will stand up for them, not special interests or their own self-interest,” said Pennsylvania Democratic spokesperson Lindsay Fritchman.

Freed said he would not participate in an investigation of his father in-law, and would instead assign a special, independent prosecutor to do the job.

“I know the work of the charitable trust section – I don’t believe anything will still be ongoing when I would take over,” he added.

Path to the Nomination

PoliticsPA has called Rafferty the front runner in the AG race. However, there is a path to the nomination for Freed, whose current position gives him a strong claim as the law and order candidate.

If the state’s Republican DAs coalesce around Freed – a real possibility – he’ll have support from a statewide network of politicos who typically have the highest favorability of any local officials.

“I think prosecutors are key, and geographically central Pennsylvania is key,” said Marsico. “Senator Rafferty has a record that he will run on as a legislator, but Dave’s got a record as a prosecutor.”

Republican state committee will be key; Freed repeatedly emphasized outreach to committee members during his speech and an interview afterward. He’s hosting a conference call with them later Tuesday night. While he didn’t rule out a run against an endorsed candidate in Carlisle on Tuesday, he did say it was unlikely (he was more definitive in an earlier interview with John Micek of the Morning Call).

“I’d have a hard time running against an endorsement,” he said.

As GOP state committee members prepare for their January 28th endorsement meeting, regional caucuses around the state will meet and hold straw poll votes to see who they support for statewide offices. The votes are not binding, but help on-the-fence committee people see which candidates have the broadest support from their peers. The first such vote is the Central Caucus, where Freed’s Cumberland County allies have a loud voice. A decisive win in his backyard could help him gain momentum for an endorsement.

Some key GOP operatives have already joined his campaign: John Brabender, Brian Nutt, Vince Galko and Bob Branstetter.

He has another intangible benefit not talked about by Freed, his supporters or his campaign team – but whispered about in GOP circles: his family. Freed’s wife (herself with prosecutorial experience) and three children are photogenic and will look great on campaign literature. Rafferty, 58, is a bachelor.

That all said, it will be a fight for Freed. Rafferty has the support of his colleagues in the Pa. Senate as well as some of the major players in southeast Pa. GOP circles (aka Bob Asher). Freed’s cash on hand, $50,000, is about half that of the Senator.

Here’s Freed’s announcement video:

5 Responses

  1. The Democratic bloggers, TeamMike Veon-Brett Cott, at CasablancaPa are letting us know what ammunition the Ds have to use against Dave Freed. Dave Freed may think that close links to those getting rich from government will help his candidacy. My view is that it will not.


    How will MontCo’s flip help a Republican statewide?

  2. Hey Oliver, if you have specific facts, witnesses or victims than say so or report it to the police immediately. Enough of these “alleged” comments without provided some facts.

    Bob G., I don’t know what elections you are talking about (oh, that’s right, you lost your county for the fiorst time ever to the Democrats!) but the GOP statewide picked up 13 new Courthouses this November. I think the GOP is going fine without you.

    Dave Freed would make an excellent Attorney General and he comes without the higher spending and higher debt that Rafferty voted for in the Senate.

  3. The Milton S. Hershey Trust, a model of private philanthropy, was established to help disadvantaged children not to enrich Republican Establishment Insider Hacks getting rich from bad government.

    LeRoy Zimmerman is an embarrassment to Tea Party Republicans although, I am sure, a start in the Republican Establishment firmament.

    Do these guys ever wonder they lose elections?

  4. Dave Freedman – Unqualified Hack With Huge Conflict of Interest

    Exactly how much crime is there in Cumberland County that qualifies its DA to be Attorney General? Has Dave Freed tried a murder case to death penalty conviction like Bruce Castor or John Morganelli?

    How likely is it that Dave Freed will continue the Penna. Attorney General’s investigation into the conflicts of interest of his father-in-law, former Penna. Attorney General, LeRoy Zimmerman, as director of Hershey Trust?

    Sweet Return for LeRoy Zimmerman Sweet return for Hershey’s director after salary rockets from $35,000 to half a million in just NINE years
    By Daily Mail Reporter 25th July 2011

    Read more:

    LeRoy S. Zimmerman says he won’t seek reelection to Hershey Co. board
    By Bob Fernandez Inquirer Staff Writer 11 February 2011

    The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office disclosed in October that it had launched an investigation into the Hershey charity’s purchase of the money-losing Wren Dale golf course in 2006.

    A part-owner of the golf course was Richard Lenny, then chief executive of the Hershey Co. Lenny did not disclose to the Hershey Trust board that he was a part-owner in the Wren Dale course when it was bought for a figure well above its appraised value to be used for possible future expansion of the Milton S. Hershey School, trust officials have said.

    Read more:
    Watch sports videos you won’t find anywhere else

    Pa. attorney general probes millions in land deals by Hershey School’s trust
    By Bob Fernandez Inquirer Staff Writer 11 February 2011

    The expenditure of $17 million on a golf course and clubhouse by the trustees of the Hershey School – just one of a number of land deals costing tens of millions of dollars made in the last six years – has resulted in an investigation by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.
    Among the other deals in recent years was the Hershey Trust’s purchase of the 18-acre Pumpkin World USA, a roadside market on Route 39, for $7.5 million. The school then leased the business back to the owners.
    Pumpkin World was purchased around the same time as the Wren Dale Golf Course, in 2006.
    Another aspect likely to be investigated, legal experts said, is a seeming conflict of interest involved in the acquisition of the golf club, which was losing money when bought by the trust.
    Richard H. Lenny, the then-chief executive officer of the Hershey candy company, was an original investor in the club. The school’s purchase of Wren Dale, at a price two or three times greater than its appraised and fair-market values, erased Lenny’s losses.

    Ex-top Hershey official alleges charity wrongdoings
    By Bob Fernandez INQUIRER STAFF WRITER 11 February 2011

    A former top-ranking official in the multibillion-dollar Hershey charity for poor children has claimed in a court filing that there were widespread financial irregularities, including the use of charitable assets for free rounds of golf, limousine rides and excessive compensation for board members, and violations of federal securities regulations.
    Robert Reese, the former president of the Hershey Trust Co., the bank that manages the charity’s funds, filed the document in Dauphin County Orphans Court on Tuesday

  5. I just hope that if you are elected at the Pennsylvania Attorney General that you take a good hard look into the Sexual abuse of children at the Milton Hershey School, which your father in law is retiring from as Chairman of the Board. Tom Corbett dropped the ball on this since he followed your father-in-law as the Attorney General. There seems to be too much of a cover-up and it all starts within the Political Machine of Pennsylvania. This case is just like the Penn State Scandal but maybe of a larger scale.

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