Sunday, December 28, 2014

Murphy's Law?

Pat Murphy's run for A.G. isn't likely to be a light jog.

Murphy's Law?

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Boss, that Pat Murphy's out of the box in a hurry.

BE: I saw. The former Democratic Bucks County congressman's running for state Attorney General next year.

JB: And his announcement yesterday clearly was well-planned. It came with endorsements from former and current congressmen such as Chaka Fattah and Pittsburgh's Jason Altmire, former Guv candidate Dan Onorato, state Reps. Tony Payton and Josh Shapiro, state Sen. Daylin Leach, a bunch of Democratic county chairmen and a list of unions, including the Teamsters.

BE: Guess he's done some groundwork.

JB: And a good thing. No Democrat has won the Pennsylvania office of attorney general since it became an elective post in 1980.

BE: Maybe it's time. He's got a strong resume.

JB: You betcha. Son of a Philly cop, lawyer, former assistant prof at West Point, Iraq war veteran, likeable, smart, good campaigner.

BE: Makes you wonder why he lost re-election to Congress last year.

JB: And that's the thrust of GOP's rapid-response message. State Republican Chairman Rob Gleason quickly issued a statement yesterday asking, "After his own constitutents fired him from Congress, how can Pennsylvanians promote" him?

BE: Good question.

JB: AND, Murphy's running in a presidential year, which means, as a down-ticket candidate, much will depend on how the top of the ticket does.

BE: Bet he's counting on that. After all, PA went Democratic in every presidential election since the first Bush back in `88. And Murphy was one of only a handful of state Democrats who endorsed Obama early. So you'd expect to Prez to campaign for/with him.

JB: Which may or may not be helpful, depending on the winds of the day come fall 2012.

BE: Do the Republicans have a frontrunner for A.G.?

JB: Not yet. But I chatted with Chairman Gleason yesterday. He said he's "pretty confident" about retaining the office, that Murphy's "too liberal" to win statewide and that the GOP has "several people showing interest in running."

BE: Names?

JB: He mentioned a few: Cumbeland County DA Dave Freed, Montgo DA Risa Ferman, Montgo state Sen. John Rafferty, and I know other DA's are looking at it.

BE: What about our "tough cookie?"

JB: Lynne Abraham's a Democrat from Philadelphia. Like Dan McCaffrey, brother of Supreme Court Justice Seamus, who's also mentioned, any Philadelphia Democrat faces an uphill run statewide for a law enforcement gig. You know how most of the state views the city.

BE: Corrupt and content.

JB: Bingo. And remember, even if Murphy walks to the Democratic endorsement, he's got history to overcome. And you can bet they'll be lots of talk about "Murphy's Law."

BE: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

JB: And so often does. Grrrr.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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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