The Weekly Brief: Who Would Replace Kathleen Kane?
1. Lynne Abraham Wants to Be Pennsylvania’s Next Attorney General
The gist: Last week, after months of speculation, Attorney General Kathleen Kane was finally hit with perjury, official oppression, criminal conspiracy and other serious charges. A grand jury determined that she illegally leaked information to the Philadelphia Daily News in order to sabotage a political enemy. Kane is adamant that she is innocent and refuses to resign for now, but Gov. Tom Wolf is calling on Kane to step down. If she quits, who would take her place? Former Philadelphia District Attorney and mayoral candidate Lynne Abraham is reportedly interested in the gig, according to PoliticsPA.
Why it matters: Does Abraham have a real chance at getting this? There are quite a few things going for her: U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the honcho of Philadelphia’s Democratic Party, says he would back Abraham if Kane resigned. The GOP-controlled Senate would have to sign off on Kane’s replacement, and though Abraham is a Democrat, she has a conservative record on issues such as marijuana decriminalization and the death penalty. On the other hand, she flip-flopped on those issues during the mayoral primary, saying that she supported decriminalization and that she would be “fine” with abolishing the death penalty. Also, Wolf, a liberal, will have to pick the appointee. Is the man who put a moratorium on the death penalty going to support the woman who was once called “the deadliest D.A.” by The New York Times? We’ll see. Other names being floated include former U.S. attorney David Barasch and former prosecutor Geoffrey Moulton, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
2. Disgraced Congressman Chaka Fattah Might Face a Challenger Next Year
The gist: Speaking of indicted politicians, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah may face some competition in the primary election next April. Fattah was slammed with corruption charges last month, and rumors are now floating that Democratic ward leader Dan Muroff is thinking about running against the incumbent, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.
Why it matters: Muroff would face major challenges if he jumped into the race. Even though Fattah has charges hanging over his head, he is still a 20-year incumbent. Muroff, on the other hand, is a virtual unknown to most voters. He is also white, and the 2nd Congressional District is mostly African-American and low-income. But if Muroff throws his hat in the ring, there is a possibility that more candidates would, too. Even if they didn’t, it would be fascinating (and, to be honest, nice) to see Fattah actually have to run a campaign.
3. Praise the Lord, Philly Released More Information about the Pope’s Visit
The gist: On Thursday, Mayor Michael Nutter finally announced some details about the so-called “pope fence” that will go up during the World Meeting of Families next month. Two security zones will encompass Independence Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and some surrounding areas. You can read Citified’s full coverage of Nutter’s press conference here.
Why it matters: After facing intense criticism from the public over not providing more information about Pope Francis‘ visit, Nutter has now changed course and made two major announcements about the city’s security measures in the last two weeks. Are the city’s residents on his side now? Not quite. Security experts recently told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the city’s plans were “excessive,” the Fraternal Order of Police says it basically has no idea where police are going to stay during the event, and reporters are continuing to pen critical articles about Nutter. It seems that Nutter has lost control of this narrative, at least for now.