Local attorney Dan McCaffery just confirmed to PhillyClout what we heard this morning: He is dropping out of the April 24 Democratic primary election for state Attorney General.
McCaffery said campaign fund-raising was a key factor in his decision to drop out of the three-way primary race. Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy had a head-start on big-money campaign donors while former Lackawanna County Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Kane says she has $2 million in the bank, though she won't respond to questions about how much she lent her own campaign.
McCaffery said his support was going to come from labor unions and blue-collar workers.
"I'm not going to have anybody writing me six-figure checks," McCaffery said. "I just wasn't comfortable having unions, whose members are out of work right now, writing checks for a bloody primary fight."
McCaffery said the Jan. 14 Democratic State Committee vote on whether to endorse a candidate for attorney general didn't play much of a role in his decision. He finished second in that vote while Murphy finished first and Kane finished third. No candidate reached the two-thirds majority needed to win the party's endorsement.
McCaffery said he hopes the Democrats can now rally behind just one candidate. He declined to say if he would endorse someone in the primary but vowed to campaign for the winner. He called for the office to be a "strong check" on Gov. Corbett's administration.
"At the end of the day, we have two other strong candidates," he said. "I'm hoping the party can unite behind somebody."
UPDATE, 1:20 pm: After the jump, you can read McCaffery's statement on his withdrawal.
DAN McCAFFERY ANNOUNCES END OF HIS CAMPAIGN FOR PA ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philadelphia, PA -- Dan McCaffery, Democratic candidate for the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General, today announced the cessation of his campaign, effective immediately.
"It is with a clear conscience and more than a twinge of regret that I announce today the end of my campaign for Attorney General of Pennsylvania," said McCaffery. "After much soul searching this past weekend and a series of honest conversations with my family and closest political advisors, I reached the inescapable conclusion that the current configuration of this race and the economic circumstances of the time make it extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to continue to mount a viable campaign. I am also deeply concerned that the Democratic Party and the state’s proud labor community are split in their allegiances; we need to be unified in order to be well-positioned to win the Attorney General seat in the November General Election. I exit this campaign with my head held high and my heart full of gratitude for the many people who support and believe in me. I will continue to be a strong voice within the state Democratic Party and pledge to work tirelessly to make sure the Democratic nominee wins the election in November. The office is simply too important not to be our top priority. I wish Patrick Murphy and Kathleen Kane all the best as they continue their pursuit of the Democratic nomination for Attorney General.”
McCaffery also made an impassioned plea to the remaining Democratic candidates and the state party itself.
"America's middle class is hurting and Pennsylvanians have not been spared," McCaffery added. "We have been hurt by banks, we have been abused by insurance companies, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and so many other reckless business sectors run amok. It is my sincere hope that the Democratic candidates take up the mantle and defend Pennsylvania's middle class. Corporations have been given more than a few breaks and a considerable helping hand from our federal government. It's time to give our state's struggling middle class a break and the Attorney General can and should play a significant role in making it happen."