Jon Campisi Jan. 19, 2012, 8:59am

Pennsylvania state Sen. John Rafferty, a Republican lawmaker from suburban Philadelphia who had his sights set on the commonwealth’s top law enforcement position, has announced that he has suspended his race for attorney general, citing a failure to obtain Gov. Tom Corbett’s endorsement.

Corbett, the former state attorney general and now Pennsylvania’s governor, has apparently thrown his support behind Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed in the Republican primary race for Pennsylvania attorney general.

Citing a statement released to the media last week, West Chester’s Daily Local newspaper quoted Rafferty as saying that he has decided to suspend his campaign for office in light of Corbett’s decision to back Freed.

“While I remain encouraged by the support I have received from members of the Republican State Committee and respect the committee’s endorsement process, I also respect the role Governor Tom Corbett plays as the titular head of our party,” Rafferty said in his statement, according to the Daily Local.

A spokeswoman at Rafferty’s Harrisburg, Pa. office could not independently verify the statement given to the newspaper last week after the Pennsylvania Record requested a copy of the announcement.

A promised return call to the Record was never received.

The Daily Local, however, reported that Rafferty has signaled a desire to back Freed in the race for attorney general.

While the senator stopped short of offering a formal endorsement, Rafferty did praise the Cumberland County district attorney, saying, “I have gotten to know Dave Freed on the campaign trail. He is someone I like and one who has compiled a strong record as a district attorney.”

Rafferty, a former state deputy attorney general, was quoted in his statement as saying that he appreciated the support of state Republicans who got behind him during his brief campaign.

The senator, who has represented the 44th District, which includes parts of Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties, for more than a decade, was quoted as saying he looks forward to continue his legislative work, with a desire to focus on things like transportation and jobs in the coming legislative session.

On the Democratic side, those vying for the attorney general’s post include former congressman Patrick Murphy, an Iraq war veteran who helped lead the charge for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of gays openly serving in the military; Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane; and Jenkintown, Pa. attorney Dan McCaffery.

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