HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) -- John Rafferty Jr., a Republican candidate for Pennsylvania attorney general, now has the support of businessman and GOP contributor Bob Asher.

Asher, a Republican National Committeeman, told PoliticsPA on Friday that he was supporting the third-term state senator.

"The Senate supports him, and I'm supporting him," he said.

Rafferty, who served as deputy attorney general from 1988 to 1991, announced earlier this month that he would run for the post in 2012.

He has been a member of the state Senate since 2003, representing parts of Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties.

According to his state Senate website, he also currently serves as the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and is a member of Appropriations, Banking and Insurance, Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, and Judiciary committees.

Prior to running for the Senate, Rafferty served as an attorney in private practice, focusing on education, real estate, zoning and business and estates law. As deputy attorney general, he was responsible for the Criminal Law Division and Grand Jury Investigations.

His top legislative priorities have included reducing the property tax burden, protecting the environment, reducing health care costs, providing quality care for senior citizens, fighting prescription drug abuse and securing resources for police and firefighters, according to his Senate website.

Rafferty earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, his master's from Beaver College and his law degree from Temple University.

Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed, also a Republican, is reportedly considering a run.

So far, former U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy -- the first veteran of the Iraq War to serve -- and Dan McCaffery, a candidate for Philadelphia District Attorney in 2009, and Kathleen Granahan Kane, a career prosecutor from Scranton, are seeking the Democratic nomination.

After former Attorney General Tom Corbett was sworn in as governor in January, William H. Ryan Jr. became the acting attorney general.

In February, Corbett nominated Linda L. Kelly to replace him.

Kelly has been a prosecutor for more than 30 years, serving as both an assistant district attorney in Allegheny County and most recently as senior litigation counsel as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

She was confirmed by a unanimous vote in May.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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