Daughter of State Senate Candidate John Kane Calls Him a Liar

Stella Holgerson has met her father only once.

The State Senate battle between Democrat John Kane and Republican Tom McGarrigle for the 26th District seat in Delaware and Chester counties is one of the most hotly contested and most negative races in the entire state, with Kane, the head of Plumbers Union Local 690 since 2007, and McGarrigle, a Springfield businessman, both pumping cash into television ads. You’ve probably seen Kane’s “Homework” ad. It’s one of those campaign advertisements that shows off a politician’s pretty family — in this case, Kane’s wife and their four children — and has them raving about what a great dad he is. But one person who saw that ad wasn’t very impressed: Kane’s 32-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

Stella Holgerson, who lives in Maryland, recently took to Facebook to speak her mind about her father. Here’s what she wrote:

DELCO Friends & Family: In November you’re going to have to vote for a person for State Senate seat. One of these men is not who he says he is. He claims to be a family man, launching his campaign with a commercial with all of his children in it. Well, that commercial is missing someone. Me.

As some of you already know, I never had a relationship with my father. I knew his name at a young age and around 20 I met him for the first and last time. After our meeting, despite telling me I could call him at any time, he changed his number and I haven’t heard from him since.

I outed myself on [Facebook] to his two eldest children 5 years ago, both of whom never knew I existed and were flabbergasted that their father had a child out of wedlock. They told several cousins and I’ve been lucky enough to have them as my [Facebook] friends and get to see what their lives are like despite my father, grandmother, and his siblings wanting no parts of me.

Unfortunately though, my father, John Kane, who pops up on my suggested friends list quite often, has never reached out to me. He’s never acknowledged that I told his two eldest children about me, and he had not made mention to having a child in his early twenties on his webpage, although he’s made mention to being a recovering alcoholic and having money issues.

So, friends and family of Delaware Co., before you decide to vote for this man, remember that he’s not REALLY a family man because if he were, not only would I be a part of his life but so would his grandson.

I hope everyone understands that this post wasn’t any easy decision. I’ve struggled with it for quite some time now because of the possible backlash I may receive, but I feel that people need to know who they are voting for. He isn’t who he says he is and he should be responsible for his actions.

Reached at her job on Tuesday afternoon, Holgerson explained that while she once wanted to have a relationship with Kane, those days are over.

“Let’s be honest: I am upset,” she says. “It really bothers me. He’s this big family man, he’s got his children on TV, it’s crazy to me. The way I look at it, he’s a liar. And I’m not trying to get him back anymore. You can’t miss something you never had.”

A source close to Kane didn’t deny that Holgerson is his child but suggested that the interaction between Kane and Holgerson’s mother amounted to a one-night stand. Holgerson says that wasn’t the case. She claims that her mother and Kane met while they were on a bowling team and that “their friends knew them to be together.” But when Kane’s family found out about the pregnancy, she claims they suggested an abortion.

“My grandmother and my mom’s best friend went to John’s parents house,” she explains. “And when they said that my mom should have an abortion, my grandma — a very hot-tempered Italian — said go eff yourself.”

According to Holgerson, her mother, who did not want to be interviewed for this story, sent Kane a photo of Holgerson as a newborn but received no reply. Holgerson says that her mother never interacted with Kane after that and that she declined to pursue a child support claim.

“But I don’t really feel abandoned,” she says. “When it would come time for the school play, I would ask about my father, and my mother would tell me, ‘He’s just not in your life, but you have your grandfather and uncle.’ I’m really very lucky. I am very close to my real family.”

Kane’s spokesperson, Aren Platt, issued the following statement on Wednesday morning:

John Kane is a dedicated husband and father who cherishes, above all else, his wife of 25 years and their four children.

He has done nothing wrong except to have entered the public arena, which has now led to media inquiries about a personal relationship from over three decades ago.

As a candidate for public office, John may be fair game, but his family and the young woman who believes that she may be his daughter are not. This is not a political matter, has absolutely no relevance to this election, and does not belong in the public discourse.

John, Stella and all the members of the Kane family deserve the privacy to work through this matter on their own. This would be a painful development for any family at any time, but John is focused on helping all involved move forward together as he also fights on in the last two weeks of this competitive campaign, and will have no further comment.

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.