Pennsylvania attorney general candidate is eligible for office, despite controversy

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January 13, 2011


Harrisburg, PA: Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, the state attorney general must meet certain qualifications before assuming office. They must be at least 30 years old, a resident of Pennsylvania for at least the previous 7 years, and a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.[1]

Patrick Murphy, a Democratic hopeful for the office, meets all of those qualifications. He has not, however, passed the Pennsylvania state bar exam, nor has he ever tried a case in a Pennsylvania state court. The former U.S. Representative was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 2004, after passing the Minnesota bar exam and practicing as an Army lawyer for five years.[2]

He is still eligible to hold state office, and the Republican field of potential opponents is narrowing. After Gov. Tom Corbett threw his support behind Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed, state Senator John Rafferty "suspended his campaign" and is unlikely to pick it back up.[2]


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