PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Attorney General candidates Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican John Rafferty squared off at Point Park University on Wednesday at a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters and moderated by KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
The candidates didn’t hold back.READ MORE: Mt. Oliver Night Club Shut Down
“I don’t want to be governor. I know he does. He can deny it all he wants,” Rafferty accused his opponent.
“That’s what this independent fact check organization found that he blatantly lied about,” Shapiro accused his opponent.
Shapiro is chair of the Montgomery County Commission in suburban Philadelphia, while Rafferty is a state senator from that same county and former Deputy Attorney General.
Rafferty stressed his prosecutorial experience, having worked in the AG’s office years ago.
“This is a tipping point for this office. We cannot have someone with little or no experience heading the office of attorney general. We’re talking about our safety and our security,” declared Rafferty.
But Shapiro, chair of the PA Crime Commission, points to his executive experience to restore integrity after disgraced former Attorney General Kathleen Kane.READ MORE: Steelers Nominate Cam Heyward For Prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man Of The Year Award
“I’m a proven executive, and I want to use those executive skills to clean up the mess in the office and, third, I want to be the peoples’ attorney general, the one person every Pennsylvanian can rely on to protect their rights,” asserted Shapiro.
While electing an attorney general would normally be a top priority for voters, Rafferty notes, “The top of the ticket, the U.S. Senate and certainly the presidential, is sucking all the air out of the room.”
“People are focused on the presidential race, but because they are open to thinking about politics and government it has given me an opportunity,” added Shapiro.
Rafferty insists it’s his prosecutorial skills that make him the better choice.
“I actually know how to write an arrest warrant, a search warrant. I’ve done it, so I think that is very important,” he said. “We’ve had someone before who claimed, I had executive experience, a vision for that office. How did that work out? It didn’t work out well at all.”MORE NEWS: Mark Whipple: Offensive Coordinator Leaving Pitt Panthers
But Shapiro responded, “Look across our country. Forty percent of our nation’s attorney generals weren’t prosecutors before they took the office. You know what they were? They were county executives, legislators, leaders of state agencies, leaders of their law firms in the private sector. Jon, I’ve been all of those things.”