Will Josh Shapiro Run for AG?

With Kathleen Kane under indictment, speculation turns to her replacement.

Josh Shapiro, courtesty his Flickr feed.

Josh Shapiro, courtesty his Flickr feed.

Yes, she’s been indicted, and no, Kathleen Kane has no plans to step down as Pennsylvania’s attorney general — even though Gov. Tom Wolf and a few other high-ranking state officials would really like her to.

But thoughts in Harrisburg have already turned to who might replace Kane, anyway, and the speculation seems to be settling along two lines:

• Who might replace Kane as the Democratic nominee for A.G. in the next election.

• Who might replace her right away if she is forced to step down.

The first question, at least, has one very likely answer: Josh Shapiro, chairman of the Montgomery County Commission, is expected to have interest in the office.

“Winning re-election is a stretch if she runs and her indictment will certainly encourage other candidates to challenge her,” says StandardSpeaker.com. “Democratic former state Rep. Josh Shapiro — a county commissioner in Montgomery County, where Kane is charged — has put out feelers about running for months as the investigation of Kane progressed.”

Word is that before they settled on Katie McGinty, national Democrats wooed Shapiro to run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Pat Toomey. Shapiro begged off in May, fueling speculation that he was going after Kane — who, whether or not charges were filed, appeared to be self-immolating.

And Shapiro would have the cash to do it: He had $1.04 million in campaign cash at the end of 2014, PoliticsPA reports, and easily raised another $500,000 in February. That money could be used in a state race for Kane’s seat. Shaprio has not commented publicly, though, about his interest in such a campaign.

If Kane steps down before he end of her term, though, Wolf will — with the approval of the GOP-held Senate — appoint her replacement. PennLive has word of the possibilities and says there appear to be two leading candidates:

• David Barasch, the Clinton-era U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania with several marquee prosecutions to his name.

• Geoffrey Moulton, a one-time special deputy to Kane who led her internal review of the Jerry Sandusky case, and currently serves in Wolf’s Office of General Counsel.

“Sources close to the situation believe both men would be comfortable living with the tradition that mid-term appointees to statewide elected office agree not to seek election to the office in their own right,” PennLive reports. “That way, both parties avoid giving an incumbent’s edge to their opposition.”