Wagner endorses a candidate for Pennsylvania Attorney General. But is there more to it?

Sen. Scott Wagner

Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township (File photo)

York County state Sen. Scott Wagner today threw his support behind a member of the lower state House, state Rep. Todd Stephens, for Pennsylvania Attorney General. But is there more to the endorsement?

Stephens is a third-term Republican state representative from Montgomery County where he worked for nearly a decade as an assistant district attorney, according to a news release. It’s a career that Wagner said makes him a “proven prosecutor.”

“I determine who to support based off of the same principles that are used in the private sector business world to find the best candidates — I look at experience and background,” Wagner said in the release. “Todd and I do not agree on every issue, but I know he will be a no-nonsense Attorney General who will keep us safe and stand up against anyone against who breaks the law.”

But there’s another Republican lawmaker from Montgomery County who not only also boats prosecutorial experience — as an assistant in the Attorney General’s office itself — but also serves in Wagner’s house, the state senate.

That man is state Sen. John Rafferty, who’s also running as the state’s top attorney.


Sen. John Rafferty

Sen. John Rafferty, R-Montgomery County. (An official portrait)

But he and Wagner aren’t known as the best of friends. Wagner even called Rafferty “the most disingenuous member of the Republican Caucus.”

Related: Sen. Wagner targets another colleague

Rafferty responded with “… we’ll see if he wants to be a big man and talk to me about it.”

The beef arose when Rafferty voted against a senate bill — SB 501, sponsored by state Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Blair County — to stop automatic paycheck deductions from state employees to collect union dues.

Rafferty wanted his amendment to exempt police, firefighters and other emergency responders from the bill but otherwise supported the idea.

Interestingly, he voted for Eichelberger’s legislation today when it passed the senate without his amendment included.

Related: Pa. Senate OKs limits on union dues, PAC collection

Despite that, there may still be some love lost between the two men.

About Flint McColgan

I’m a journalist covering York County, Pa., government and politics. Reach me by email at fmccolgan@ydr.com or call me at (717) 487-0823.

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