Kane's performance Tuesday came after an improbable rise.
At her party's endorsement convention earlier this year, she debuted as a relatively unknown figure in state Democratic circles and placed third behind more established candidates, including former Bucks County congressman Patrick Murphy and onetime Philadelphia district attorney hopeful Dan McCaffrey. She benefitted when the convention endorsed no one.
But she handed Murphy a sound primary defeat, after emphasizing her experience as a frontline prosecutor. A $2 million donation from her husband - Chris Kane, owner of a Scranton-based trucking business - didn't hurt, either, providing the funding for the ad campaign that propelled her at the polls.
In the general election against Freed, Kane shifted focus, attacking him for his ties to two past attorneys general: Gov. Corbett and LeRoy S. Zimmerman.
Corbett's endorsement helped clear Freed's path of GOP challengers during primary season. Zimmerman, Freed's father-in-law, once served as board chairman for the Hershey Trust, a charity for disadvantaged children under investigation by the Attorney General's Office for alleged financial improprieties.
And Freed never quite overcame the name recognition Kane earned during her spring fight with Murphy.
He contended that his eight years as Cumberland County's district attorney made him the better candidate to run the state's highest law enforcement office. That argument ultimately fell flat against Kane's crusading criticism of high-profile cases like the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Kane specialized in child sex-crimes prosecutions during her 12-year stint in the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office, and the Sandusky case - the most high-profile sex abuse prosecution ever undertaken by the Attorney General's Office - offered a prime showcase to tout her expertise.
Early on, she questioned Corbett's decision to put the case in front of a grand jury in 2009 while he ran for governor, instead of arresting the former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach as soon as his first accuser came forward. She has pledged to review Corbett's handling of the investigation as soon as she assumes office in January.
She also attacked the governor over an inaccurate attack ad aired by an outside group which Corbett had supported in the past.
The spots, aired by the Virginia-based Republican State Leadership Committee in September, called Kane "soft on rape" and alleged she had given a light plea deal to a man convicted in the sexual assault of a 16-year-old. Independent fact-checking organizations later determined she had handled barely any aspects of that case.
Corbett, arriving at Freed's Camp Hill event Tuesday night, said he couldn't understand why Kane relentlessly focused her attention on him throughout the campaign.
"She's more than welcome to look at what we did," the governor said. "She's the one that turned the attorney general's race political."
How much that antagonistic relationship with Corbett will carry over once she heads to Harrisburg in January remains to be seen. There, she will oversee an office with a staff of about 700 and subject to legislative battles over a budget that now stands at $81 million.
Contact staff writer Jeremy Roebuck at 267-564-5218, email@example.com, or @jeremyrroebuck on Twitter.
Inquirer staff writer Amy Worden contributed to this article.