Sunday, August 30, 2015

Kane's Good Timing

AG candidate Kathleen Kane might have hit exactly the right time to run for the office that new polling suggests she'll win with ease.

Kane's Good Timing

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Success in politics, as I've often written, frequently comes down to being in the right place at the right time.

That certainly seems to be the case for Scranton's Kathleen Kane, the Democrat running for state attorney general.

Kane, according to a new Inky poll out Tuesday, leads her Republican opponent Dave Freed by 20 points even though nearly half those surveyed basically never heard of either.

Why? Right place right time, and a combination of very general and very specific reasons.

First the general: it's a good year for a Democratic woman to run against a Republican man. I mean can we get any more GOP men to say stupid things about rape, contraception, ultrasounds, etc.?

Kane's an experienced, competent prosecutor running in a state that's never elected a woman U.S. Senator, Governor or Attorney General; and she'd be the first Democrat elected to the office.

As I said in a column last week, either Kane or Freed would serve the Commonwealth well. Both are smart and capable.

But even though Freed has more experience in running a prosecutor's office (he's DA of Cumberland County; Kane was an assistant DA in Lackawana County), Kane has other factors in her favor.

She specialized in child-abuse cases and got national news air time when the Sandusky story broke.

She's vowed to "investigate" Republican Tom Corbett's handling of the case (which fires up many in the Penn State nation) while Freed has said only that he'd "review" the case.

She picked up $100,000 contribution from a former Hershey Trust board member, which is certain to highlight an ongoing civil investigation by the AG's office into dealings of the multi-billion-dollar charity that controls the Hershey Company and the Milton Hershey School for disadvantaged kids.

The Kane contributor, Robert Reese, the grandson of the creator of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, sued the trust over alleged fiscal improprieties.

Freed's father-in-law, LeRoy Zimmerman, is a former state AG and headed the Hershey Trust during the period now under review.

So we have woman, Democrat, child-abuse prosecutor interested in investigating Corbett and likely to investigate Hershey, running against a Republican strongly supported by Corbett with family ties to Hershey.

Even though Freed stresses his independence and says he'd appoint outside counsel to the trust case, I'd say all this for Kane amounts to pretty good timing.

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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