YOU KNOW WHAT they say: If you're going to announce a run for public office, do it on the same day the incumbent gets blasted with a heavy dose of Porngate news.
Oh, wait. No one's ever actually said that before, because Pennsylvania's political world is more absurd than an old "Monty Python" sketch.
In any event, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. formally announced on Wednesday that he's running for state attorney general.
It proved to be a bit of a rough day for state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
First, state Rep. Louise Bishop copped a (sweeeeet) plea deal in the undercover-sting case that took down a handful of other local pols - you know, that same case that Kane contended was "non-prosecutable" and tainted by racial bias.
And then Mark Gilson, the hot-headed assistant district attorney handling the case, blew a gasket in the lobby of the Dauphin County Courthouse. Gilson called on Kane to release what he said were dozens of scandalous emails that were received by Kane's twin sister, Ellen Granahan, who also works for the A.G.'s Office.
We're starting to get sidetracked into Porngate stuff here. We know. It's awful. So, back to Zappala.
His father, Stephen Zappala Sr., once served as the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Junior is pitching himself as a "corruption-buster." A bunch of local Democrats heaped praise on Zappala, including U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who was quoted in a news release saying there was "no question" that Zappala is "highly qualified to serve as Pennsylvania's attorney general."
Even former Philly city solicitor Ken Trujillo - who mounted a brief run last winter for the Democratic mayoral nomination - joined the chorus, noting that the A.G.'s job is "serious business, and requires a serious person" like Zappala.
The only good news for Kane: People are bound to stop paying attention to all of this, at least for a couple of days around Christmas.
We got an invite last week to District Attorney Seth Williams' annual holiday breakfast fundraiser yesterday at the Union League. Actually, it was forwarded to us by someone else. Seth must know we're not supposed to be supporting politicians. (Besides, we have no money).
The invite says individuals can contribute up to $2,900 a year to Friends of Seth Williams, and political-action committees can contribute up to $11,600.
But the $11,600 is actually $100 over Philadelphia's annual limit for PACs, which probably makes sense on some level, considering that Williams' campaign spending - which sometimes looks a whole lot like personal expenses - has already caught the attention of federal investigators.
Soooo, bottom line, we hope you didn't listen to Seth's invite and contribute the max. That would be bad. Like, real bad.
What? You did?
Listen, come over here. Are you serious?
OK, don't worry, Clout will help you out. We know a vacuum-cleaner repairman from Pennsport. His name is Enrico. You can meet him under I-95 at FDR Park tomorrow at 4:30 a.m. He will make you "disappear." Pack your life into a duffel bag. New name, new identity. Problem solved.
Second option: Just head down to Tijuana for a few months. Cool your heels till this whole thing blows over. Drop us a line once you get settled, OK?
Don't worry, you'll be fine. This will all be behind you soon.
- Staff writers David Gambacorta and William Bender
contributed to this report.