The race for Pa. Attorney General

October 1, 2012

The battle pits a former Lackawanna County prosecutor, Democrat Kathleen Kane, against the Cumberland County District Attorney, Republican David Freed.

A controversial ad sponsored by a so-called Super PAC - a super political action committee - has become a central part of the campaign.

The ad accuses Kane of being soft on a rapist who allegedly assaulted a16-year-old girl and then allegedly raped two more women after he was released. The ad also challenges Kane's prosecution record.

On Monday, both sides weighed in.

Freed, endorsed Monday by the Pennsylvania State Police Fraternal Order of Police, was asked about the ad during a campaign stop in Chester County.

He told Action News he is disappointed about it. But he said has no contact with the group that produced it and no power to take it off the air.

Meanwhile, top Pennsylvania democrats are calling for the ad to be pulled.

Former Governor Ed Rendell, former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynn Abraham, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli and other prosecutors stood behind Kane Monday.

Kane said the ad isn't about the truth, it's about politics.

The father of one of the rape victims in the ad has also come forward to dispute its claims.

For better or worse, the ad has drawn a lot of attention to the race for Pa. Attorney General.

Here is more now about both candidates:

Kathleen Kane is a career prosecutor, a former deputy Attorney General in Lackawanna County, hoping to become the first Democrat in 40 years, and the first woman ever, elected Pennsylvania Attorney General.

"I am running because the AG's office is the difference between a justice and an injustice in Pennsylvania," she says.

David Freed is the District Attorney in Cumberland County, a near-lifelong criminal prosecutor hoping to continue the Republican's decades long residency in the AG's office.

Like Kane, a criminal prosecutor, he's running on his resume.

"I'm the man with the experience and qualifications to do the job," he says, "and I'm ready to go on Day One. I've been building toward this my entire career, and I'm ready to go."

And though their resumes aren't dramatically different, their philosophies, each candidate says, are.

Kane, for instance, says law enforcement has to change priorities. Be tough on crime, but also use resources already in place to try to prevent it.

"There's intermediary courts, there's mentoring programs, there's anti-violence programs and anti-gang programs, so there's a number of methods we can be using," she says.

Freed says the first focus must be to continue the office's work protecting children and the elderly. The latter group, he says, is subject to a growing form of fraud.

"I'm talking about people using powers of attorney and other legal documents to frankly steal from the elderly," he says. "Sometimes it's family, sometimes it's caregivers."

The two also differ on whether, as AG, they would personally try cases.

"I would think that it would be virtually impossible as AG to run an office of 180 attorneys, 320 agents and support staff, and actually go in there and try cases," says Freed.

"If I'm the one with the most knowledge and most experience, then you can be sure I'll be the one in the courtroom making sure justice is served," says Kane.

Though history is on Freed's side, Kane has raised more money, and may get a boost from Barack Obama at the top of the ticket. Each, though, says they are running their own race, and it may come down to the wire.

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