The Kane train keeps rolling

Posted: November 14, 2013

OH, KATHLEEN, what are you up to?

Are you running for governor in 2014 or just preparing in case of a draft?

Are you asserting yourself as a stand-alone, independent player?

Are you slowly (maybe not so slowly) shedding that self-sewn shawl emblazoned, "I'm a prosecutor, not a politician."

Between you and me? You're looking a lot like a politician.

This much is certain: No Pennsylvania public figure is more closely watched these days than state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Every move is scrutinized.

Whether defying convention by refusing to defend the state's ban against same-sex marriage or punching back hard at a Republican lawmaker seeking her ouster, she's maintained a level of visibility unusual for a state row officeholder.

And even though she insists she's not running for governor, this cannot make fellow Democrats who are running all that happy.

Kane drew national attention with her same-sex marriage decision, then drew the ire of the right, including a call for her impeachment by GOP Rep. Daryl Metcalfe.

She basked in the former and proffered a blistering response to the latter.

She wrote that citizens "should be revolted that a politician such as Rep. Metcalfe is attempting to thwart an independent attorney general. . . . I have never been afraid of or backed down from bullies. . . . I will never be deterred by selfish rants of those who want Pennsylvania to belong to the few."

Not taking any guff, see?

But it's more than that.

As eight other members of her party vie for public attention and, more importantly, campaign dollars, Kane is sucking up both.

Less than a year in office and almost three years from facing re-election, she's aggressively raising mega-money.

She had a big fundraiser in late September at the Comcast Center. Tickets ranged from $1,000 to $25,000.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports she's holding another fundraiser Monday in Harrisburg with ticket prices from $500 to $10,000.

And she raises this dough as Democrats who are running in 2014 fight over the same pots of campaign money.

"She has an amazing ability to raise money," says a Democratic consultant not involved in any campaign and speaking on background. "If she can raise a million a year, she should do it."

But imagine if you're Allyson Schwartz, Katie McGinty or Rob McCord watching noncandidate Kane pull money out of the same pools you're all fishing in.

"It's like Arlen Specter," says a fundraiser for a Democrat running for governor. "He raised money all the time, no matter who was running for what or when."

Kane: new to game but compared to a master.

Her activity renews speculation.

Does her fundraising suggest she's finishing her promised probe of Gov. Corbett's handling of the Penn State/Sandusky mess? And, if so, did she find something that spurs a rethink of running against him?

Is she purposely vacuuming up Democratic dollars so other Dems can't compete with Corbett, allowing his re-election and a shot for her at an open seat in 2018?

Her spokesman, Joe Peters, says he can't comment since Kane keeps politics separate from her office. When I ask who can speak to her politics, Peters says he'll see if there's anyone who can talk with me.

That was Monday evening. Still waiting.

Other Democrats, of course, won't publicly complain.

Schwartz, for example, says she thinks Kane is simply trying to raise money to avoid spending family money (as she did in 2012; $2 million) next time out.

"I think it's the smart thing to do," Schwartz says, adding, "I don't think she's running for governor."

I don't either, by the way, but it's still fun to question what she's up to.


Email: baerj@phillynews.com

Blog: ph.ly/BaerGrowls

Columns: ph.ly/JohnBaer

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|