The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

December 29, 2012

Kane win, Specter death marked Pa. politics in ‘12

HARRISBURG — Some things that stirred much political discussion in Pennsylvania in 2012 did not materialize – a photo ID requirement for voters, legislative redistricting, a high-profile role for the state in the presidential race.

But there was hardly a drought of statewide political news.

Democratic newcomer Kathleen Kane was elected attorney general, ending voters’ 32-year-old habit of exclusively choosing Republican men as Pennsylvania’s chief legal officer. She is the first woman elected to the post since it became an elective office in 1980.

The former Lackawanna County prosecutor was the top vote-getter in the general election. She received more votes than President Barack Obama or Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, who defeated Republican millionaire Tom Smith to win a second term.

Kane beat GOP nominee David Freed, the Cumberland County district attorney, by 14.5 percentage points.

Kane, of Scranton, and Auditor General-elect Eugene DePasquale, a Democratic former state representative from York, won two of the open statewide row offices.

Democratic state Treasurer Rob McCord was re-elected to the third.

Only the attorney general’s office changed parties.

The elections also brought good news for legislative Democrats, who picked up three Senate seats after losing the governorship and what was left of their legislative clout two years ago, but Republicans retained control of both houses.

“For the millions of dollars spent on campaigns, this was a status quo election,” said Terry Madonna, a pollster and political scientist at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

In October, former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, whose 30 years in office made him Pennsylvania’s longest-serving senator, died at 82 after his third bout with cancer. Vice President Joe Biden was among the hundreds of mourners who attended his funeral.

Scandals abound

Pennsylvania’s government and politics bore the stain of scandal for a third straight year as state and federal judges sentenced more than a dozen former legislators and aides convicted of public corruption.

Former House speakers

John Perzel of Philadelphia, a Republican, and Bill DeWeese, a Greene County Democrat, were among several legislative leaders who were sent to prison.

As the year is ending, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin remains suspended without pay as she awaits trial on charges of illegally using her publicly paid staff to work on political campaigns.

Her sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, R-Allegheny, is serving a prison sentence for her conviction on similar charges earlier this year.

Corruption “has become part of our political landscape,” said political scientist and pollster Christopher Borick at Muhlenberg College in Allentown.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • 4-year-old killed by van after dad’s funeral, police say

    Police in southeastern Pennsylvania say a 4-year-old boy was struck and killed by a passing van hours after returning from his father’s funeral.

    April 14, 2014

  • Woman gets 6 to 12 years in infant kidnapping

    A Pittsburgh area woman was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison after she was convicted of kidnapping an infant by luring the mother to a Fayette County motel with a phony story about a commercial photo shoot for disposable diapers.

    April 11, 2014

  • APTOPIX High School Stabbings.jpg Lawyer: Evaluate stabbing suspect’s mental health

    The attorney for a 16-year-old accused of stabbing 21 other students and a security guard at their high school said Thursday he wants to have a mental health expert evaluate the boy and hopes to have the case moved to juvenile court.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obamas send prayers to school stabbing victims

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are sending their thoughts and prayers to the victims of a stabbing spree at a Pennsylvania high school.

    April 9, 2014

  • High School Stabbings.jpg Stabbing spree at Westmoreland County high school leaves 20 injured

    A 16-year-old armed with two knives went on a stabbing and slashing spree at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday, leaving 20 people injured, including a school police officer who eventually subdued him with the help of an assistant principal, authorities said.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX stabbings.jpg Student flashed 2 knives, injured 20 in Westmoreland County school, police say

    A 16-year-old boy "was flashing two knives around" when he injured 19 students and a school police officer who eventually subdued him with the help of an assistant principal at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday, a police chief said.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police: Man killed by train was texting

    Police say a man killed by a commuter train in suburban Philadelphia was texting a friend when he was struck while walking on the tracks.

    April 8, 2014

  • Daniel.jpg Investigators seek cause of fire that killed three brothers

    Authorities searched the rubble of a burned-out farm house over the weekend for the cause of a fire that took the lives of three young brothers left home alone while their widowed mother worked the overnight shift at a direct mail company.

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • Wozniak, John Lawmakers want more aid for cities

    Several bills circulating at the Capitol would open improvement zones more quickly or allow smaller cities to participate.
    Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, wants to make the concept available to more cities the size of Johnstown.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • barbour021614.jpg No shows escaped death by Craigslist killer

    The young woman who says she was driven by satanic spirts to commit a cross-country murder spree over the last six years says authorities are not taking her claims seriously and that she tried to lure other central Pennslyvania men into her death snare with online companionship ads but they didn't show up.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads