Shapiro out­rais­ing Rafferty in AG race

NY bil­lion­aire Bloomberg con­trib­utes $250K to Dem

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twitter

As the Penn­syl­va­nia at­tor­ney gen­eral cam­paign en­ters the fi­nal stretch, Demo­crat Josh Shapiro has about $700,000 more at his dis­posal than Repub­li­can John C. Rafferty Jr., thanks in part to a $250,000 con­tri­bu­tion from New York bil­lion­aire Michael Bloomberg.

The most re­cent cam­paign fil­ings for both cam­paigns show that Shapiro has more than $1.4 mil­lion on hand to spend while Rafferty’s cam­paign has just over $700,000.

Fil­ings for the pe­riod from May 17 to Sept. 19 show Shapiro has so far spent more than $3.4 mil­lion on his cam­paign, while Rafferty has spent a mere $671,000.

All to­tal, the cam­paign fi­nance re­ports show in 2016, Shapiro has raised nearly $5 mil­lion — $4.9 mil­lion — while Rafferty has raised $1.3 mil­lion.

“Money is al­ways an is­sue for any can­di­date,” Rafferty told Dig­i­tal First Media when asked about the dis­par­ity, adding wryly “but then I don’t have any out-of-state bil­lion­aires con­tribut­ing to my cam­paign.”

Shapiro, cur­rently chair­man of the Mont­gomery County com­mis­sion­ers, said the money from

Bloomberg — who served three terms as the mayor of New York City and is some­times men­tioned as a pres­i­den­tial con­tender — was largely the re­sult of the agree­ment the two politi­cians have on is­sues of gun con­trol.

“He likes what we’ve done in Mont­gomery County and our bi­par­ti­san ap­proach to gov­ern­ment,” Shapiro added.

With both can­di­dates agree­ing on many of the is­sues, if not the meth­ods, which need to be ad­dressed by the next at­tor­ney gen­eral — the opi­oid epi­demic, in­creased con­sumer pro­tec­tion, re­turn­ing an air of in­tegrity to the of­fice — gun con­trol is­sues are be­com­ing a clear area of dif­fer­ence.

Shapiro sup­ports al­low­ing lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to en­act their own gun laws, whereas Rafferty, a state sen­a­tor rep­re­sent­ing the 44th Dis­trict, sup­ported a 2014 law that al­lowed out­side groups like the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion to sue those mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, whether they were pros­e­cuted un­der those lo­cal laws or not.

Shapiro has also pledged to fol­low in the ex­am­ple of New York At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Sch­nei­der­man and “work with gun show op­er­a­tors to es­tab­lish a set of model gun show pro­ce­dures” in or­der to “en­sure il­le­gal sales do not oc­cur in the park­ing lot of Penn­syl­va­nia guns shows” and be­lieves back­ground checks should be ex­panded to in­clude pri­vate sales of long guns.

Shapiro has also pledged to “re­view” rec­i­proc­ity agree­ments with other states, which some­times al­low those who can­not ob­tain con­cealed carry per­mits in Penn­syl­va­nia to ob­tain them from other states with fewer re­stric­tions — of­ten called “the Florida loop­hole.”

Rafferty, who has an “A” rat­ing from the NRA, said his ap­proach to il­le­gal guns is to “get them out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.”

Rafferty said he does not see the need for any ad­di­tional gun con­trol laws, although he touts his lead­er­ship in the pas­sage of a new law in­creas­ing penal­ties for straw pur­chasers, en­acted after a weapon bought that way killed Ply­mouth of­fi­cer Bradley Fox, a New Hanover res­i­dent.

But while Rafferty may be well thought of by the NRA, it hasn’t trans­lated into big bucks.

Ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent cam­paign fi­nance fil­ing, the NRA’s Po­lit­i­cal Vic­tory Fund has contributed just $1,000 to Rafferty’s cam­paign.

A look through Rafferty’s contributors in­di­cates that many of his smaller con­tri­bu­tions are com­ing from across the state, while larger amounts are com­ing from po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tees rang­ing from the State Trooper’s As­so­ci­a­tion ($25,000) to horse breed­ers ($5,000) to the North­east PA Lead­er­ship Fund ($50,000) out of Wilkes-Barre.

Also, many of Rafferty’s contributors are other Repub­li­can politi­cians, in­clud­ing $5,000 each from U.S. Reps. Ryan Costello (R-6, of West Goshen); and Pat Mee­han (R-7, of Chadds Ford); $2,000 from U.S. Rep. Char­lie Dent (R-15, of Le­high County); $1,000 from Berks County Com­mis­sioner Chris­tian Lein­bach and $10,000 from Delaware County Coun­cil­man David White’s cam­paign cof­fers.

The cam­paign chests of Rafferty’s col­leagues in the Se­nate are also lend­ing a hand — $10,000 from Pat Browne, $35,000 from Joe Scar­nati and $25,000 from Rafferty’s own Se­nate cam­paign fund.

Of course, Shapiro is not shy of po­lit­i­cal contributors ei­ther.

The cam­paign of fel­low Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sioner Val Arkoosh has contributed $26,500 to Shapiro’s cam­paign, and Gov. Tom Wolf contributed $20,000 of his own money, ac­cord­ing to the fil­ing.

Shapiro has also re­ceived size­able con­tri­bu­tions from the po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tees of a num­ber of unions and their chap­ters, in­clud­ing $50,000 from branches of the Ser­vice Em­ploy­ees In­ter­na­tional Union; $50,000 from the Brick­lay­ers and Al­lied Craft Work­ers, $25,000 from the Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of State, County and Mu­nic­i­pal Em­ploy­ees and $25,000 each from the na­tional and Penn­syl­va­nia chap­ters of the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion.

A num­ber of Philadel­phia and Pitts­burgh law firms have also lent a hand and its clear from the fil­ings that many of Shapiro’s con­tri­bu­tions are com­ing from the ma­jor metropoli­tan ar­eas around Philadel­phia and Pitts­burgh and far fewer from other parts of the com­mon­wealth.

And although he didn’t quite match Bloomberg’s con­tri­bu­tion, Shapiro did ben­e­fit from the largesse of an­other New York bil­lion­aire — Ge­orge Soros.

Of course, Soros only contributed $5,000.

Josh Shapiro John C. Rafferty Jr.

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