Kane Hints at Senate Bid With Major Fundraising Hire

Kathleen Kane portrait
Kathleen Kane

New York — Attorney General Kathleen Kane took a major step toward a 2016 Senate campaign this week when she hired prominent Democratic fundraiser Aubrey Montgomery.

Kane and Montgomery both confirmed the decision at the PoliticsPA Governor Mifflin Society reception during the Pennsylvania Society festivities this weekend. It was made official earlier in the week.

Neither said that Kane was planning a Senate bid, but several sources close to Kane indicated Friday night that it was directly in her sights.

The late night reception followed an day of speculation based on reports – citing several unnamed sources – that Kane was considering a run.

If she decides to challenge Sen. Pat Toomey, Kane will need to retool her fundraising operation. She raised millions of dollars in her 2012 bid for AG but much of the money came in the form of large checks from friends and family. A federal campaign requires a longer list of donors who are limited to contributing smaller checks.

Toomey, who is seeking re-election, has $3.6 million on hand.

Joe Sestak, the former admiral, former Congressman and 2010 Senate candidate is actively preparing for a rematch in 2016. He has $900,000 on hand.

“I would love to see the primary between Kathleen Kane and Joe Sestak,” said one Republican operative Friday night.

Congressman Matt Cartwright and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro are other potential Democratic opponents for Toomey.

It’s the second year in a row that a politician set off a flurry of political chatter by hiring Montgomery.

In December 2012, news that Allyson Schwartz had brought Montgomery on started the speculation that the Congresswoman was planning a bid for Governor. That speculation was ultimately borne out, although Schwartz might originally have made the hire to prepare for her own 2016 effort.

Montgomery served as Finance Director for Schwartz until October, when she was removed by the campaign. Schwartz’s campaign characterized the move as a simple reshuffle, while others said it indicated fundraising problems.

She subsequently formed her own consulting group, Rittenhouse Political Partners, and signed on Kane as a client.

Montgomery is the former Finance Director for the Pa. Democratic Party and is credited to a significant degree for their success in that sphere in 2012. She made PoliticsPA’s list of 30 Under 30 two cycles in a row.

15 Responses

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  2. Observer-
    Learn to read:

    “Montgomery is the former Finance Director for the Pa. Democratic Party and is credited to a significant degree for their success in that sphere in 2012”

    “That sphere” means FUNDRAISING for PA Dems.

    The criteria is how she did compared to past fundraisers for the PA Dems (or their expectations for 2012), not to the success of the candidates/field-operations nor whether she outraised the GOP.

  3. Aubrey had great results in 2012? Really? So, why are both houses controlled completely by the Republicans? And why did the PA Dem chief complain about being outspent? Get her contact list and then dump her, Kathleen, like Schwartz did.

  4. As a centrist Republican, I MIGHT be induced to vote for Kane over Toomey. I would never be induced to vote for Joe “me-first” Sestak over Toomey. Toomey has principles. Kane has principles. Sestak has one principle: Sestak.

  5. King of Spades-
    She’s done plenty more than just “being a woman”. However, the political reality is still that she would attract female voters and that women are seriously under-represented in the US Senate.

    As for accomplishments:
    1) She stopped Corbett’s lottery privatization to a foreign company
    2) She has stood up for gay rights
    3) She’s been focused on doing the job of AG, like cracking down on child predators with the the newly created Child Predator Section in the attorney general’s office.
    4) The FB page for the AG’s office is filled with links and stories about the day-to-day types of work our AG does, be it testifying before congress about problems facing PA, or going after corrupt officials or prioritizing going after drug dealers.

    The point is that she’s been a good AG (unlike her predecessors).

  6. I would support Kane in a heart beat especially if the only other option is Joe Sestak. its like comparing chicken salad (Kane) to chicken crap (Sestak).

  7. I love this- the Democrats are having wet dreams about running Kathleen Kane for higher office even though they can’t point to ONE SINGLE THING she’s accomplished as AG other than being a woman.

  8. PA State Committee Member-
    Assuming that either candidate can beat Toomey in 2016, why should Democrats settle for someone like Sestak when we can have Kane, and Sestak can run for the 7th again.

    If Joe truly cared about serving in office (and not satisfying his ego with a bigger title), he could have run for the 7th in 2012 and now for 2014.

    Joe said he would not run for Senate in 2022, so why should Dems spend millions for a one-term Senator, and fight for the open seat again in 2022?

    It’s a bad call for the party, and the State.

    Sestak wasn’t much of a congressman, as it was. He spent his entire second term running for Senate. In his first term, he voted TWICE for a blank check for Bush’s war in Iraq, and voted for telecom immunity and warrantless wiretaps.

    The entire time he was an abusive boss to his overworked staff, many of whom were paid less than the minimum hourly wage. And let’s not the forget the female staffer who left early in his first term because she was told that she was “hired for her looks, not her opinions”.

    Let’s face it: Sestak’s been a blight on the PA Democratic party. The best he can do is win back the 7th district until the Dems can get a fair redistricting.

    He’d still get to live in his real house in Virginia with his family.

    Besides, Kane is a rising star in the party, and Sestak is a falling former star. Kane is the future, and Sestak is a regrettable past.

    Let’s put this another way:
    – You are a county committee hosting a big fundraiser. You have your choice of two keynote speakers: Joe Sestak or Kathleen Kane. Whom do you pick?

    Unless the event is to raise money for a cure for insomnia, you wouldn’t pick Sestak over Kane.

  9. For 2016 I’m already committed to Joe Sestak, and I am actively working for him now. He’s been working hard around the state, he already has Capitol Hill experience as a former Congressman, and he will be a GREAT Senator.

    Democrats do not need a primary fight between Joe Sestak and Kathleen Kane; as the article says the GOP would absolutely love this.

    I worked very hard for Kathleen Kane in 2012. She’s a great candidate and a great AG, but she needs to finish at least one term in the position she ran for before she seeks some higher office.

    So please Kathleen, don’t throw away your promising career (and the Democrats’ chances of ousting Toomey) by moving too soon. Do not run for Senate in 2016.

  10. Jeremy-
    Interesting points. But, Murphy not only made no secret about his intentions, but the AG office is an independent check on the Governor.

    So, in Murphy’s case, he would/could be investigating the person he was planning to run against. That would just continue the pattern of politicization of the AG’s office.

    There are two senators and one governor. The Gov isn’t limited to $2,600 per cycle per individual, and if elected, gets to live in a big mansion.

    Given that, the case could be made that Governor is a bigger jump than Senator. 🙂

    Besides, Governor is a very different type of job and skill set than Senator. A law degree is probably a better fit for a Senator dealing with the details of legislation and avoiding unforeseen consequences. So, it might be her preference (and you have to run only every 6 years and no term limits). Gov is an 8-year gig at most. (4 for Corbett 🙂 )

    I’d support Kane for either position.

  11. I like Kane. I think he will be a great Gov in 2022. But, it seems like it would be a HUGE jump to go from a one term state AG to Senator in four years.

    The reason most people supported Kane over Murphy was because Murphy was using it as a stepping stone for Gov after one term. Well, wouldn’t Kane be using AG for a stepping stone for Senator after one-term.

    Kane also ran on “finding the dirt” on Corbett’s investigation of Sandusky. As far as I know, nothing pertaining that subject has come out of her office.

    We will see what happens but:

    Kane for Gov 2022!!!!!

  12. Frank-
    I don’t have the patience for dealing with all the idiots you have to put up with, especially the lobbyists and money-men. I don’t enjoy door-knocking. I’m pretty public in my characterization of “God” as a fictional character. I don’t kiss anybody’s @ss, or even allow them to have the illusion their @ss got kissed. If I were elected, I’d have a big mail slot on my door labeled “Bribes”, and the other side connected to a shredder (and that would be in my campaign platform).

    Also, it’s generally frowned upon if you call your debate opponent a m*ther-f*cking liar. 🙂

    I’m an activist providing data/technical support to Dems. Think of it this way: A guy who designs race cars, and comments on the performance of racers with their cars, doesn’t tend to be a race car driver himself. It’s a different skill set and area of interest.

    I really wouldn’t enjoy being in elected office (and the rest of the elected officials wouldn’t enjoy me calling them out on all their bullsh*t.)

  13. Schwartz made a mistake losing Aubrey, and Kane is taking advantage of that mistake.

    I guess that’s the difference between “women in politics” and “smart women in politics”. 🙂

  14. Great news for Kane! Aubrey has always been focused on electing powerful women to office and with Kane she has someone to work with who has an actual future — whether continuing as the highest elected woman in the state or helping elect her to something else.

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