Candidate Freed visits River Wards

State Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.) brought at­tor­ney gen­er­al can­did­ate Dav­id Freed to the Ara­mingo Diner in Port Rich­mond on Sept. 12 to meet with loc­als.

Dav­id Freed (left), the dis­trict at­tor­ney in Cum­ber­land County who is run­ning for at­tor­ney gen­er­al, Bob Bran­stet­ter (cen­ter), and Marc Collazzo (right) sit down to talk about Dav­id’s in­ten­tions at the Ara­mingo Diner, Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 12, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

Dav­id Freed ex­pects to di­vide the last sev­en weeks of his cam­paign between stops in south­east­ern and west­ern Pennsylvania.

“I’ll be learn­ing the turn­pike real well,” he said.

Freed, the Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate for Pennsylvania at­tor­ney gen­er­al, made a cam­paign stop last week at the Ara­mingo Diner, at 3356 Ara­mingo Ave. in Port Rich­mond.

State Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.) brought Freed to the diner on Sept. 12 to meet with loc­al news­pa­per re­port­ers.

Freed has got­ten to know Taylor and oth­er state law­makers in his ca­pa­city as dis­trict at­tor­ney of Cum­ber­land County, a mid-size county of about 240,000 people not too far from Har­ris­burg. As dis­trict at­tor­ney of a county near the state cap­it­al, he has ad­voc­ated to the le­gis­lature on vari­ous is­sues.

“Freed seems like a good guy,” Taylor said.

In the Nov. 6 elec­tion, Freed will face Demo­crat Kath­leen Kane and Liber­tari­an Marakay Ro­gers.

A law­yer from York, Ro­gers must sur­vive a court chal­lenge to re­main on the bal­lot. Re­pub­lic­ans are try­ing to knock Liber­tari­an can­did­ates off the bal­lot, ar­guing that they do not have suf­fi­cient nom­in­at­ing pe­ti­tions. Ro­gers ran in 2008, tak­ing 1.9 per­cent of the vote.

Kane is a former as­sist­ant dis­trict at­tor­ney in Lack­awanna County. In the primary, she de­feated former Bucks County con­gress­man Patrick Murphy, thanks in part to an en­dorse­ment from former Pres­id­ent Bill Clin­ton.

Freed be­lieves the dif­fer­ence between him and Kane is his ten­ure as dis­trict at­tor­ney.

“Ex­ec­ut­ive ex­per­i­ence makes me most qual­i­fied for the job. Once you take the oath of of­fice, the wins and losses are on you,” he said. “I have the ideas and en­ergy to do the job. I’ve got a good story to tell.”

Freed, 42, lives in Camp Hill with his wife Amy and three chil­dren. His fath­er-in-law is former state At­tor­ney Gen­er­al LeRoy Zi­m­mer­man.

The can­did­ate is pro-life and a mem­ber of the NRA, and pro­claims him­self a fan of the Fly­ers, 76ers, Eagles and Phil­lies.

In 1997, he served as a deputy pro­sec­utor in York County. He moved to the Cum­ber­land County DA’s of­fice in 1998, pro­sec­ut­ing in­sur­ance fraud cases. He be­came the first as­sist­ant dis­trict at­tor­ney in 2001 and was ap­poin­ted to the top job when the then-DA joined the state at­tor­ney gen­er­al’s of­fice. He was elec­ted in 2007 and re-elec­ted in 2011 without op­pos­i­tion.

In of­fice, he has de­veloped re­la­tion­ships with Phil­adelphia’s cur­rent and former dis­trict at­tor­neys, Seth Wil­li­ams and Lynne Ab­ra­ham. At present, he is vice pres­id­ent of the Pennsylvania Dis­trict At­tor­neys As­so­ci­ation.

Re­pub­lic­ans have won all eight races for at­tor­ney gen­er­al since the post be­came an elec­ted of­fice in 1980. However, Demo­crats en­joy a voter-re­gis­tra­tion ad­vant­age of more than 1 mil­lion, and many of the races have been close.

GOP can­did­ates for at­tor­ney gen­er­al have been able to pre­vail des­pite heavy losses in Phil­adelphia. Four years ago, Tom Corbett lost the city by al­most 391,000 votes to Demo­crat John Mor­gan­el­li, but won statewide by more than 383,000 votes. Freed said he will tar­get Re­pub­lic­an voters in the city to get them to the polls.

Re­pub­lic­ans have over­taken Demo­crats when rur­al votes are re­por­ted late. In fact, me­dia out­lets have de­clared Demo­crats Al­len Er­tel (1984), Joe Kohn (1996) and Jim Eis­en­hower (2004) the win­ners without wait­ing for all the votes to be coun­ted.

Freed ex­pects a tight battle with Kane.

“It will be very close, one way or an­oth­er,” he said. “It’s go­ing to be a long night. It will be de­cided after mid­night by un­der fifty-thou­sand votes.”

If elec­ted, Freed would like to im­ple­ment new pro­grams, but he un­der­stands the budget con­straints. He’s dealt with budget is­sues in a con­ser­vat­ive county in cent­ral Pennsylvania and has been forced to pri­or­it­ize.

“I think that’s what the next at­tor­ney gen­er­al has to do at the state level. The state budget is not go­ing up,” he said.

When plan­ning the pro­sec­u­tion of a case, Freed will de­term­ine wheth­er it has the best chance to suc­ceed in the at­tor­ney gen­er­al’s of­fice, a loc­al dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice or in the fed­er­al courts.

In of­fice, he would seek to fund sur­veil­lance cam­er­as, po­lice car video equip­ment and anti-gun vi­ol­ence ef­forts, par­tic­u­larly in Phil­adelphia.

“That’s a place I see the at­tor­ney gen­er­al lead­ing,” he said.

Freed, whose par­ents were edu­cat­ors, also wants to be part of a bi­par­tis­an team of dis­trict at­tor­neys, po­lice chiefs and county sher­iffs to pro­mote early child­hood edu­ca­tion as a way to keep young people from be­com­ing vic­tims or per­pet­rat­ors of crime.

As for the il­leg­al drug is­sue, Freed fa­vors put­ting a heavy pres­ence of law en­force­ment of­ficers on the street to ar­rest deal­ers.

“We’ve got to dis­rupt their busi­ness,” he said.

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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