Northeast Times

DA endorses ousted congressman for AG

Seth Wil­li­ams says former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy has what it takes to be Pennsylvania's top pro­sec­utor

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Dis­trict At­tor­ney Seth Wil­li­ams last week en­dorsed Patrick Murphy in next year’s Demo­crat­ic primary for state at­tor­ney gen­er­al.

Murphy served in Con­gress from 2007-10 be­fore los­ing his seat to Re­pub­lic­an Mike Fitzpatrick.

“Patrick un­der­stands that we owe it to Pennsylvani­ans to pre­vent crime, not just pun­ish it,” Wil­li­ams said. “That means tack­ling the prob­lems that lead to crime and provid­ing al­tern­at­ives to young people so we can keep them out of the crim­in­al justice sys­tem.”

Oth­er pos­sible Demo­crats can­did­ates in­clude former Dis­trict At­tor­ney Lynne Ab­ra­ham, former Lack­awanna County As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kath­leen Gra­na­han Kane and Dan Mc­Caf­fery, who fin­ished second to Wil­li­ams in the 2009 primary. Wil­li­ams chal­lenged Ab­ra­ham in 2005. He is not close to either Mc­Caf­fery or Ab­ra­ham.

Pos­sible Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates in­clude state Sen. John Raf­ferty of Mont­gomery County, Cum­ber­land County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Dav­id Freed and Mont­gomery County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Risa Vetri Fer­man.

Since state voters began elect­ing at­tor­ney gen­er­als in 1980, Re­pub­lic­ans have won every race.

A para­troop­er in the Army’s 82nd Air­borne Di­vi­sion, Murphy served in Ir­aq in 2003.

In Con­gress, his biggest ac­com­plish­ment was lead­ing the re­peal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy — im­ple­men­ted by Pres­id­ent Bill Clin­ton — that pre­ven­ted gay men and wo­men from serving openly in the mil­it­ary.

When Murphy, who grew up in Park­wood and gradu­ated from Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School, an­nounced his can­did­acy on April 20, he pro­duced a list of sup­port­ers that in­cluded elec­ted of­fi­cials, party lead­ers and labor uni­ons.

The list fea­tures U.S. Rep. Chaka Fat­tah, state Rep. Tony Payton and party chair­men and chair­women in 15 counties.

Since leav­ing Con­gress, Murphy has worked as a part­ner in the Fox Roth­schild law firm and taught at Widen­er Law School. He lives in Bris­tol with his wife, two young chil­dren and dog.

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Also in 2012, can­did­ates for the state Sen­ate and House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives will run in dis­tricts that will look dif­fer­ent fol­low­ing the up­com­ing re­ap­por­tion­ment pro­cess.

The Pennsylvania Su­preme Court has ap­poin­ted Su­per­i­or Court Pres­id­ent Judge Emer­it­us Steph­en J. McEwen to chair the Le­gis­lat­ive Re­ap­por­tion­ment Com­mis­sion.

“This court has full con­fid­ence in his abil­ity to lead the re­ap­por­tion­ment com­mis­sion with fair­ness, lend­ing to the forth­com­ing task his su­perb prob­lem-solv­ing skills and keen abil­ity to me­di­ate dif­fer­ences,” said Su­preme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille.

McEwen is a former dis­trict at­tor­ney in Delaware County. He is the second con­sec­ut­ive Su­per­i­or Court judge ap­poin­ted to chair the com­mis­sion. In 2001, Frank J. Mon­temuro chaired the com­mis­sion.

The ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the com­mis­sion will be Charlie O’Con­nor, a law­yer and former pres­id­ent of the Friends of Sum­mer­dale Civic As­so­ci­ation. O’Con­nor worked un­der Mon­temuro a dec­ade ago.

The com­mis­sion’s pre­lim­in­ary or­gan­iz­a­tion­al meet­ing was held in Har­ris­burg last Wed­nes­day, May 11.

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A re­cent sur­vey by Pub­lic Policy Polling showed U.S. Sen. Bob Ca­sey Jr. with weak ap­prov­al rat­ings, but large leads over po­ten­tial Re­pub­lic­an op­pon­ents. Only 39 per­cent of voters ap­prove of the job he’s do­ing while 35 per­cent dis­ap­prove.

Still, he leads sev­en po­ten­tial op­pon­ents by any­where from 12 to 23 per­cent­age points. He tops former Sen. Rick San­tor­um (49-37), state Sen. Jake Cor­man (51-35), U.S. Rep. Jim Ger­lach (50-32), Tea Party act­iv­ist Laur­een Cum­mings (51-32), U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (51-31), state Sen. Kim Ward (50-29) and at­tor­ney Marc Scaringi (51-28).

Only Scaringi, of Perry County, has an­nounced his can­did­acy. San­tor­um, who was un­seated by Ca­sey in 2006, is run­ning for pres­id­ent. Ger­lach and Dent are un­likely to run.

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

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You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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