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Of Kane, Castille, courts and campaigns

Just as Democrat Kathleen Kane loses a court fight that could lead to charges against her, the Republican who caused the court fight says he might run against her.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille. (Staff photos)
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille. (Staff photos)Read more

WELL, WELL, WELL. Talk about a race that could take up space.

Gone-but-not-forgotten Ron Castille says he just might run for state Attorney General against embattled Democrat Kathleen Kane.

This is not an April Fools' Day joke. (Though knowing Castille, it could be.)

He recently told the Associated Press he's considering a run. Yesterday he told me, "Yeah, that's one option I'm looking at."

Can you imagine?

Phrases such as "the lamb and the lion," "the judged and the judge," "beauty and the beast" all spring to mind.

Not saying it'll happen. Who knows if Kane will still be around? Who knows if Castille's bored with his Florida condo and is just rattling a sword?

But, kids, that contest would be a kick.

For starters, the irony's palpable.

Castille, as chief justice of the state Supreme Court, authorized a special prosecutor to investigate Kane for alleged illegal leaks of grand jury info to the Daily News last year.

Castille's former court yesterday ruled 4-1 (there are two vacancies) against Kane's legal challenge questioning Castille's authority to do so.

That means Kane could face criminal charges from contempt of court to perjury.

She insists she's done nothing wrong, that a good old boy network is out to get her (the only woman on the court, Justice Debra Todd, dissented in the ruling against Kane) and that she plans to seek re-election.

Think of that campaign. She can claim Castille greased the skids of her slide in order to get her job. He can claim Kane illegally leaked stuff in order to keep her job.

Her reaction to a possible Castille run? No comment.

And Castille? In a column back in January I suggested he'd run.

He left the bench the end of last year at the mandatory retirement age of 70 - after 41 years in law and justice, half as a prosecutor, including Philly D.A., and half on the high court. As he was leaving, he made it clear he wasn't through.

Republicans tried to get him to run for mayor this year but he declined.

(He ran before, narrowly losing the 1991 GOP primary to Frank Rizzo.)

Now he says the Attorney General's Office "seems to be in deep disarray . . . it's my understanding there are not a lot of happy professional people over there."

Earlier, he told the AP that Kane looks "in over her head."

Few would disagree that her rise and fall has been stunning.

She's the first woman, first Democrat elected state attorney general, winning in 2012 with more votes than President Obama, more than Sen. Bob Casey.

She soon was touted as the next governor or U.S. senator.

Ah, but that was then.

In the past year Kane has been buffeted for walking away from what she called an un-prosecutable sting case involving Philly lawmakers and a traffic judge against whom Philly District Attorney Seth Williams has since brought charges.

She's gone through staff at a dizzying rate, hired high-profile outside counsel, including Clinton family adviser Lanny Davis, and ended up in a grand jury jam.

Some wonder if she stays in office long enough to seek a second term next year.

If she doesn't, Castille says he's interested in filling in.

When I asked about the perception that he orchestrated Kane's demise so he could take her place, he said, "I think some people would think that."

I know one who would.

And maybe she'll reprise the phrase Rizzo taunted Castille with in '91. Rizzo accused Castille of resigning as D.A. to run for mayor only because he was promised a job in a law firm doing city business.

The phrase was, "What's the deal, Castille?"

Could come in handy - unless it turns out that orange is the new Kane.