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Rafferty Out of AG Race

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

John Rafferty is out of the Attorney General race, the Montgomery County state Senator confirmed today.

Rumors have circulated for days that Governor Tom Corbett was on the verge of endorsing Rafferty’s opponent, Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed. Today, Corbett told Rafferty he was going to pull the trigger.

“The governor has communicated to me that he will be supporting Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed for the Office of Attorney General; therefore, I will be suspending my campaign for the same office,” Rafferty said in a press release. His full statement is below.

Freed was gracious in his response, Capitolwire reported.

“I have gotten to know and like and admire Sen. Rafferty as we both have campaigned and I like and respect him and look forward to working with him on various issues. He has done a great job in the Senate and is a very strong candidate.”

Freed also thanked Corbett: “I’m very pleased to have the support of the governor, particularly since he was attorney general, so he knows better than anyone what it takes do the job and what it takes to get elected.”

The news follows a confusing weekend during which Corbett was a hair’s breadth from endorsing Freed, but had reportedly decided to stay neutral. According to several party and legislative sources, Corbett was actually delaying his decision, in part to see how the two would fare at Saturday’s straw poll in the PAGOP’s central caucus. Freed won that vote by a commanding 77-19 margin.

Corbett and Rafferty have butt heads in the past, especially over issues related to the Delaware River Port Authority.

PoliticsPA called Rafferty the front runner in the race when he announced in late November, based on his strong support from Senate Republicans and SEPA party leaders. But his support began to decay as Corbett and his allies started a firm push against him.

Freed will likely go on to be the nominee. He will face one of three Democrats running: Kathleen Kane, a former prosecutor from Lackawanna County; Dan McCaffery, a former prosecutor from Philadelphia; and Pat Murphy, a former prosecutor from Bucks County.

A high-ranking party source said that Corbett would similarly make his support known for other statewide candidates, including Pa. Rep. John Maher who is running for Auditor General, and Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughn who is seeking a bid for Treasurer.

Here’s Rafferty’s full statement:

“My campaign for Attorney General has afforded me a great opportunity; an opportunity to travel to every corner of our great state and learn firsthand the unique challenges facing the voters. I am humbled by the support I received from each region of our state and value the friendships that have been forged and strengthened during this campaign. I trust that these friendships will persevere through passing political cycles.

While I remain encouraged by the support I have received from members of the Republican State Committee and respect the committee’s endorsement process, I also respect the role Governor Tom Corbett plays as the titular head of our party. The governor has communicated to me that he will be supporting Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed for the Office of Attorney General; therefore, I will be suspending my campaign for the same office. I have gotten to know Dave Freed on the campaign trail. He is someone I like and one who has compiled a strong record as District Attorney.

I would like to personally thank all the members of the Republican State Committee who lent their support to my candidacy. In particular, I sincerely thank the Southeast Republican chairmen who were very early supporters of my endeavor. Additionally, I want to thank Senators Joe Scarnati and Dominic Pileggi and the rest of my senate colleagues who lent their unwavering support to my effort. Lastly, I want to thank my campaign chairman, Bob Asher. Bob is transcendent in the world of Pennsylvania Republican politics and provided instant credibility to my campaign.

I have always enjoyed representing the citizens of the 44th District in the State Senate and plan to remain serving in that role. As Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, I look forward to reviewing the governor’s comprehensive transportation funding plan that will jumpstart our economy and improve the poor conditions of our roads and bridges. We also have many other important issues to address this session. I will continue to aggressively pursue solutions and speak with an independent voice to make our commonwealth more “job friendly” and a safer place to live and raise a family.”

7 Responses

  1. Are you kidding? Bob Guzzardi is universally regarded as a joke. A candidate has “arrived” when he or she gets attacked by Guzzardi or his “mini-Me” Bob Sklaroff. The absolute best badge of honor a Republican candidate can wear is a trashing buy these two. It tells sane people that the candidate must be hardworking, intelligent and not afraid to do what is right under any circumstances. Guzzardi is an equal opportunity hater and he changes his mind frequently. Good people today are bad people tomorrow and visa versa. I went to a candidate forum once and one of “the Bobs” was heckling a candidate and the rest of the audience shouted the Bob down. In a yes or no question about a candidate, go with the candidate Guzzardi rails agains every time and you will never be disappointed.

  2. Bob Guzzardi is right this time. Any of the Ds will pounce on the Hershey-Zimmerman problem in the campaign and in the office.

    Only hope for Rs, Freed and Zimmerman now is the Dems implode by nominating the unqualified and inexperienced Murphy. He’s unelectable.

  3. Tell me where I am wrong. Dave Freed is entwined with LeRoy Zimmerman, politically and financially. Is that not so?

    You do not know Dan McCaffery and as AG, the Republicans will have much to fear because he has no reason to cover up their actions, particularly, Senate Bonusgate.

    The Rs need to put up someone independent of the party leadership who will have credibility as an enforcer of the Rule of Law and equal justice for all.

    Dave Freed has many negatives that will not poll well and only a hack would ignore them.

  4. News Flash: Bob Guzzardi attacks Freed for AG. Victory for the Cumberland County DA now assured.

    Guzzardi=Never right and instant credibility for whomever he attacks.

  5. It is unfortunate that the Republican electorate will now be deprived of a choice in the primary this April. It’s odd that the party that believes in competition for schools, businesses, and individuals does not favor competition in political campaigns.

  6. This is very bad for the Republicans.

    This leaves the very damaged Dave Freed who is entwined with LeRoy Zimmerman who has enriched himself in his position with the Hershey Trust, the iconic Pennsylvania charity for disadvantaged children. Diverting money from disadvantaged and vulnerable children, even if legal, is repulsive. The Attorney General is investigating giving this all a whiff of ugly illegality.

    I can hear the negative ads now.

    The Happy Face of LeRoy Zimmerman, Getting Rich from Milton S. Hershey’s Legacy by diverting funds from vulnerable, defenseless, disadvantaged kids. Is this the face of conscienceless greed?
    How Hershey charity director fees rose to half a million July 20, 2011 By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
    “When Leroy S. Zimmerman was named in late 2002 to the board of the small state-chartered Pennsylvania bank that managed the assets of the Hershey charity for disadvantaged youth, the post paid about $35,000 a year and came with restrictions. …
    For the tax year that ended July 31, 2010, Zimmerman, 76, earned $500,000 – for the second consecutive year. His total compensation on Hershey-related boards in less than a decade is $1.9 million.”
    Pa. attorney general probes millions in land deals by Hershey School’s trust
    By Bob Fernandez Inquirer Staff Writer

    Penna Dems:
    Corbett Pushes Sen. Rafferty Out of AG Race; Chosen Candidate Faces Conflicts of Interest

  7. Asher takes it on the chin. We all know what Asher did down there in Montgomery County with that commissioner who got arrested. Rafferty should never have put his eggs in that basket.

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