SCRANTON, Pa. (WHTM) – In her hometown, Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced she is not running for re-election on the same day that nominating petitions were due at the Pennsylvania Department of State.
It was a drizzly, gray and gloomy day in Scranton, which pretty much set the tone for what has been a stormy two-and-a-half years of her term beset by legal issues and political missteps.
“I unveiled public corruption,” Kane said proudly in a sit-down interview moments after throwing in the towel on an AG bid. “I said I’d take them on. I stayed true to my word. But that does come at a personal cost.”
More defiant than downtrodden, even though her political career is likely over in less than a year, Kane insisted that a “good old boys club” is conspiring to get her and is the source of her troubles.
“This corruption is so deep and the networks are so long-lived and so powerful they didn’t take kindly to me chopping them down and cutting them up and making sure they were exposed,” she said.
Kane said there are more offensive/pornographic/misogynistic emails to be released and more powerful Pennsylvanians to be named in an investigation being led by a special prosecutor she appointed.
But I press: has she not made mistakes that have led to perjury charges, a suspended law license, and an upcoming trial?
“I said it once and I’ll say it a million times: I did nothing wrong,” Kane said, pausing between each word.
She then added that everyone makes mistakes, that she’s probably made some and finishes with this: “I am not a good politician. I just don’t fit in in that crowd. You can see that as a mistake.”
Kane accentuated the positives of her leadership. She likes to repeat that child predator arrests are up 800 percent. She also says she’s prioritized cracking down on drugs, especially heroin, and guns. She is proud of a “nationally recognized” Mobile Street Crimes Unit.
But what about the numerous staff defections? I mention that sources on the inside have told ABC27 that the Office of Attorney General is in disarray and morale is down.
“Morale is not down in the office,” Kane says before I finish the question. “Let me interrupt and correct that. Morale is not down. When I came into the office, people hadn’t had raises, they were untrained, they didn’t have the proper equipment.”
Kane said she’s fixed those problems. She reiterated before the end of the interview that morale is up under her leadership. She also says she’s proud of her tenure.
Kane said she’s stepping aside mostly for family reasons and to focus on her two sons. But she added during her announcement that if she ran for re-election, she’d win it.
“I’m ahead of the Democratic candidates by double digits in the polls,” she said.
Kane did not endorse any of those candidates running for her seat, but she wished them good luck and good health on the campaign trail.