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Kane spokesman: She's running again

She is facing a criminal trial, the Senate might yank her out of office, her poll numbers are sinking, rivals in her own party are lining up for her job, and the husband who bankrolled her last campaign is no longer in the picture.

She is facing a criminal trial, the Senate might yank her out of office, her poll numbers are sinking, rivals in her own party are lining up for her job, and the husband who bankrolled her last campaign is no longer in the picture.

Despite all that, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane intends to seek a second term, her representatives said Friday.

"Right now, she intends to run," said Kane political consultant Kenneth Smukler. Kane's official spokesman, Chuck Ardo, said the same.

The Democrat's position appears to be a turnaround from her stance of only last fall.

After the state Supreme Court in September suspended her license, pending the outcome of her trial on charges of perjury, official oppression, and other offenses, she concluded that the action would bar her from seeking reelection.

"I believe you have to be a lawyer in good standing to be able to run," she said then.

The news of Kane's change of heart comes just days before a Senate panel considers her future. The panel has scheduled its final hearing for Tuesday on a measure that could remove her from office.

While Kane, 49, the first Democrat and first woman elected attorney general, has said she will not testify at that hearing, former Gov. Ed Rendell said Friday that he would testify on her behalf - if his schedule permits.

Meanwhile, deadlines loom if Kane is to formally declare her candidacy for the April 26 Democratic primary. Smukler noted that Jan. 26 is the first day that candidates, including incumbents, can begin collecting signatures on nominating petitions.

Kane would face a primary that already has three declared challengers: Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr.; Jack Stollsteimer, a former federal prosecutor from Delaware County; David Fawcett, a former Allegheny County councilman; and Northampton County D.A. John Morganelli.

Also, Josh Shapiro, a Montgomery County commissioner, has been seriously considering running, according to his spokesman.

For the Republicans, State Sen. John Rafferty, who represents Montgomery County, is the only candidate who has signaled his intention to run.

After winning the general election in a landslide in 2012, Kane appeared to have a flawless first year in office. She won national attention for her early stand in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

But her political fortunes soured after The Inquirer disclosed that she had secretly shut down a sting investigation that had recorded six elected officials from Philadelphia, all Democrats, pocketing cash.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams resurrected the dormant investigation and later filed charges against all six. His office has won a string of guilty pleas and forced three legislators from office.

Prosecutors in Montgomery County say Kane sought revenge against a former state prosecutor whom she blamed for The Inquirer's sting story. This allegedly led her to leak secret grand jury material to the Philadelphia Daily News in an effort to embarrass that prosecutor.

Kane has pleaded not guilty. She has said the charges against her were "corruptly manufactured" by enemies upset at her effort to cast a spotlight on officials who have traded pornographic and racist emails using government computers.

Her arrest spurred the high court to suspend her law license, and the GOP-controlled Senate to move forward on a plan to possibly oust her from office on the ground that she cannot perform her duties without a law license. It could vote on that later this month or in early February, though a court challenge by Kane could freeze any action.

Gov. Wolf, a Democrat like Kane, has urged her to resign.

She and her husband, Christopher, are in the midst of a divorce. He provided most of the money for her 2012 campaign, and she owes him $1.6 million from that race.

The tumult has exacted a heavy toll on Kane's popularity.

According to results in October from the Allentown Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll, fewer than one in five respondents said Kane deserved to be reelected, down from 27 percent eight months earlier. A slim majority - 52 percent - opposed her reelection.

In a separate survey the same month, Public Policy Polling found similar results: 56 percent opposed her reelection, and 41 percent rated her unfavorably.


UPDATED: A previous version of this article omitted John Morganelli's name.