Tom Corbett (R)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) -- Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has notched glowing endorsements from two of the Keystone State's largest newspapers.

The Republican attorney general is vying for a second term. Corbett, a former U.S. attorney, is being challenged by Democratic nominee John Morganelli, the longtime Northampton County district attorney.

Since Pennsylvania voters began choosing the state's chief legal officer in 1978, no Democrat has held the post.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said in its endorsement Sunday that Corbett is "needed" to complete his probe, known as "Bonusgate," which is focused on whether state lawmakers awarded taxpayer-funded bonuses to staffers for doing campaign-related work.

The Post-Gazette editorial says Morganelli's criticism that Corbett has been quiet for four years except for his Bonusgate investigation is unfounded.

"In addition to the public corruption unit, Mr. Corbett created a child predator section that has arrested more than 160 child sex-abusers and his staff presents effective and age-appropriate educational programs for adults and children on Internet dangers," the endorsement said.

The newspaper also praised Corbett for continuing multijurisdictional drug prosecutions and for creating a unit in his office that coordinates efforts to fight fraud aimed at seniors.

In its endorsement, the Philadelphia Inquirer too said Corbett has followed through on the promise he made four years ago to pursue on child predators, drug dealers and abusers of the elderly.

"He's done a solid job on those fronts and in pursuing illegal gun crimes in Philadelphia. But Corbett has become best known for taking on political corruption in Harrisburg," the newspaper said. "Tom Corbett deserves a second term in office to see the probe through, and The Inquirer endorses his reelection."

The newspaper noted that Morganelli has attacked Corbett for pursuing Democrats first in the Bonusgate probe, allowing his fellow Republicans time to hide their wrongdoing.

If reelected, Corbett "needs to follow the investigation wherever it leads. Anything less will undercut the seriousness of the charges," the newspaper said.

In addition to his newspaper endorsements, Corbett has drawn the backing of FARMER -- Farmers Allied for Responsive More Effective Representation -- in its first-ever statewide endorsement.

FARMER, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau's bipartisan political action committee, in its endorsement cited Corbett's support of the 2005 Agriculture, Communities and Rural Environment Act, which gives the state attorney general the power to challenge locally restrictive farming ordinances.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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