KATHLEEN KANE, Pennsylvania's attorney general since January, is now considering a run for higher elected office.
The Scranton native is not planning to enter the crowded 2014 Democratic primary election for governor, as many speculated.
Instead, Kane is eyeing a 2016 run for the U.S. Senate against Pat Toomey, a Lehigh Valley Republican.
Three sources close to Kane confirmed that she is very interested in a 2016 Senate run.
"I think she sees it as a good opportunity," one of the sources said. "I think it's something she's seriously looking at."
No decision has been made, according to a second source, who has spoken to Kane about her interest in the race.
The third insider quoted Kane as having said: "I love my job.
"I appreciate that people trust me and approve of the great strides we have made in the past 11 months."
The state's candidates and campaign donors decamp today to Manhattan for the annual Pennsylvania Society gathering, where they share ideas and ambitions at political fundraisers held in the gilded accommodations of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
Kane could make quite a splash there with her Senate interest.
A Public Policy Polling survey released Nov. 27 - which drew little attention on the day before Thanksgiving - showed Toomey in a "tough spot" to win a second six-year Senate term in 2016.
That poll found Toomey trailing Kane 46-42 percent in a prospective 2016 Senate matchup.
The poll also found Toomey tied at 42 percent in a rematch with former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, a Delaware County Democrat who lost to Toomey by a slim two-point margin in 2010.
Sestak in May launched the exploratory phase of what is expected to be a 2016 Senate run.
The timing of a Senate run would be tricky for Kane. She repeatedly promised while campaigning last year that she would not run for another office while serving as attorney general. The last year of her term is 2016.
Kane has drawn serious attention since taking office 11 months ago as the first Democrat - and first elected woman - to serve as the state's attorney general.
* Running for her first elected office, Kane questioned how Gov. Corbett - as state attorney general - handled the child-sexual-abuse investigation that eventually sent former Penn State University football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky to prison.
Kane is conducting an inquiry about that investigation. The widely anticipated conclusions could be political explosive.
* In February, Kane used the power of her office to reject Corbett's plan to privatize management of the Pennsylvania Lottery, saying that it violated the state's constitution by infringing on the General Assembly's powers.
The privatization plan, one of Corbett's signature policy goals, is wending its way slowly through the Legislature.
* In July, Kane drew national attention when she announced that she would not defend the state in a federal lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's 17-year-old Defense of Marriage Act, which bans same-sex marriage.
That attention was boosted unintentionally in Kane's favor by state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Butler County Republican who filed a House resolution Nov. 26 calling for Kane to be impeached.
State Sen. Daylin Leach is stepping down Jan. 1 from chairmanship of the state Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, a post he has held since 2010.
We hear that it was a mutual decision between Leach, a candidate in the competitive May 20 Democratic primary election for the 13th Congressional District, and his fellow Senate Democrats.
We also hear that some of Leach's colleagues were concerned that his attention was focused on the primary.
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, of Pittsburgh, yesterday praised Leach's efforts to recruit Democratic Senate candidates since 2010 and acknowledged that the upcoming congressional primary election was a factor in his resignation as chairman.
The Democrats, who picked up three seats in the Senate last year, need just three more to take control of the chamber.
Two of those winners from last year, state Sen. Rob Teplitz of Harrisburg and state Sen. Matt Smith, of the Pittsburgh suburb of Mount Lebanon, will be co-chairman of the committee after Jan. 1.
"I look forward to working closely with the next chairs of the campaign committee to ensure that the Senate Democrats take the majority next year," Leach said yesterday.
Not heading to New York this weekend for Pennsylvania Society? That doesn't mean you have to miss out on local political talk in a swanky atmosphere.
A group of young professionals is hosting the inaugural "Pattison Leader Ball" tomorrow evening at the Hyatt at the Bellevue.
The ball is named for two of the youngest governors in the state's history, Robert Pattison and George Leader. Tickets are $65, a bargain compared to the prices at Pennsylvania Society events.
Proceeds benefit The Monkey & The Elephant, a nonprofit that has young adults from foster-care backgrounds operate a "pop-up" coffee shop while looking for a permanent business home.
Ticket information can be found at www.plbleader.com.
On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN