HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro will report that he headed into his 2020 reelection year with more than $3 million in his campaign bank account, about 40% of what he spent to get elected in 2016 to his first four-year term.
In a preliminary report his campaign gave to The Associated Press, Shapiro, a Democrat, will report to the state that he raised $3.3 million in 2019 and had $3.1 million left over as of Jan. 1. He spent $523,000 last year, partially offset by the $365,000 that he had left over from 2018, according to the report.
His biggest individual cash donor at $250,000 was the Democratic Attorneys General Association, a national fundraising organization. Labor unions poured in more than $800,000, and Philadelphia-area developer Israel Roizman gave $75,000, according to the report. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who is close with Shapiro, chipped in $20,000.
Shapiro spent nearly $8 million in 2016 when he beat former state Sen. John Rafferty by nearly 3 percentage points in that year’s general election after winning a low-turnout, three-way Democratic primary.
This time around, no Democrat has stepped forward to challenge Shapiro in the primary.
With barely five weeks to go before major-party candidates must file petitions to get on the primary ballot, one Republican has raised their hand: Heather Heidelbaugh, a longtime Pittsburgh-area litigator with little experience in electoral politics as a former one-term member of the Allegheny County Council.
Shapiro — whose prospects as a candidate for governor or U.S. senator in 2022 are the constant source of political water-cooler talk in Pennsylvania — is a former state representative and Montgomery County commissioner who had never served in law enforcement before he took office in 2017.
Shapiro took over in 2017, assuming control of what is now an office of more than 900 employees that had endured a tumultuous four years.
Shapiro’s elected predecessor, Democrat Kathleen Kane, resigned after she was convicted of leaking information protected by secrecy laws to a newspaper and then lying under oath about it. Under Kane, the office fumbled public corruption cases and saw an exodus of top aides as she waged public feuds and made eyebrow-raising misstatements.
Shapiro’s time as attorney general is perhaps best-known for his office’s groundbreaking grand jury report in 2018 on the cover-up of child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses. The report spawned more than 20 similar investigations in other states and helped prompt the nation’s bishops to approve new steps to deal more strongly with sexual abuse by clergy.
His office also has gone to court to challenge President Donald Trump’s policies more than 20 times, almost always as part of a coalition of Democratic-led states, and never lost, Shapiro has said.
Shapiro, meanwhile, has mounted an effort to expose more information about guns used in crimes, similar to something New Jersey did, and worked to expand the office’s budget, workforce and power.
He has sought, and failed, in the Republican-controlled Legislature to expand the office’s authority to pursue gun-trafficking crimes across the state, and he is in the midst of working to expand, through regulation, his office’s authority pursue anti-trust cases.
That has won the support of consumer advocates but drawn opposition from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and major business sectors, including insurers and the natural gas industry.
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