The Biggest Winners and Losers in Philadelphia’s 2017 Primary Election

Clockwise: Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif, Democratic district attorney nominee Larry Krasner, Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police chief John McNesby, labor leader John Dougherty, City Controller Alan Butkovitz, ward leader Marian Tasco, and protesters at Philadelphia’s Women March.

Philadelphia’s election on Tuesday was a game-changer. The winner of the Democratic primary for district attorney is a criminal defense lawyer who has never prosecuted a case in his life and made a name for himself by suing law enforcement over alleged abuses and representing progressive activists like Black Lives Matter. A young ex-budget director crushed incumbent City Controller Alan Butkovitz, the ultimate political insider, in an upset victory.

Those two Democratic nominees, Larry Krasner and Rebecca Rhynhart, are the race’s biggest winners. But who are the other winners and losers — the issues, interest groups, and kingmakers — in the election? Here’s our list: Read more »

Progressive Firebrand Larry Krasner Wins District Attorney Primary

Larry Krasner | Photo courtesy of Krasner’s campaign

Democrat Larry Krasner, a firebrand criminal defense attorney who has never worked a day in his life as a prosecutor, won the district attorney primary Tuesday night. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, he captured 37.5 percent of the vote in a seven-candidate race. Read more »

Rebecca Rhynhart Unseats Incumbent City Controller Alan Butkovitz

Left: Alan Butkovitz (photo courtesy of Curtis Blessing). Right: Rebecca Rhynhart (photo courtesy of Rhynhart’s campaign).

Democrat Rebecca Rhynhart defeated incumbent city controller Alan Butkovitz in an upset victory on Tuesday, earning 58 percent of the vote with 90 percent of precincts reporting.

Rhynhart’s success in the primary election is yet another sign that the power of the city’s Democratic machine is waning. Butkovitz, a ward leader and decades-long politician, was endorsed by the local Democratic Party. Read more »

Everything You Need to Know to Vote in the 2017 Philadelphia Primary

Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Good morning and happy Election Day, Philly! Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The city will likely pick its next district attorney today. (Yes, there will be a general election this fall, but the Republican candidate will face an uphill battle because of the Democratic Party’s 7-to-1 voter registration edge.) The choice is critical: It’s the DA’s job to prosecute crimes in Philadelphia, meaning he or she plays a major role in determining whether victims get justice, how many people go to prison every year, and if citizens trust law enforcement. Currently, Philadelphians have a lot of reasons not to have faith in the DA’s office: District Attorney Seth Williams has been indicted for allegedly seeking bribes and stealing from his own mother.

There are other important races on the ballot, too, including for city controller, judges and election board worker. Plus, there are two ballot questions to answer. If you haven’t heard of any of the candidates, or don’t know where your polling place is located, don’t worry! There’s still time to learn. Here’s everything you need to know to vote today: Read more »

The No-Bullshit Guide to the 2017 Philadelphia Primary

Clockwise: District attorney candidates Larry Krasner, Joe Khan, Rich Negrin, Teresa Carr Deni, Jack O’Neill, Tariq El-Shabazz, Beth Grossman and Michael Untermeyer. | Photos courtesy of the campaigns

Do you loathe that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is doubling down on the War on Drugs? Are you glad he’s finally restoring law and order to the country? Do you think the city spends too much money locking people up? Just enough? Too little? If you answered affirmatively to any of these questions, then you should vote in this year’s district attorney race. The DA prosecutes crimes in Philadelphia, helping to determine whether justice is delivered to victims and how many people end up in prison every year. The choice in front of voters is as important as ever: Current District Attorney Seth Williams has been accused by the feds of seeking thousands of dollars’ worth of bribes and stealing from his own mom.

Voters will also choose Philadelphia’s next city controller, judges, and election board workers on Tuesday, as well as vote on two ballot questions.

Don’t worry if you haven’t paid close attention to these races — it’s why we created this election guide and an accompanying list of endorsements for each candidate in the district attorney race. It’s a ruthlessly honest, easy-to-understand explanation of the candidates’ pros and cons. Here are your choices. Read more »

What’s Pat Toomey Hiding From?

Illustration by Jesse Lenz

It’s early April, and Pat Toomey is hosting a town hall.

Well, that’s not quite true. It’s a telephone town hall — a glorified conference call. “Thank you very much for taking the time to join,” the Republican senator says to the nearly 10,000 people on the other end of the line. “It’s a great way for me to stay in touch with many, many constituents when I have to be here in Washington.” Then Toomey gets meta and makes a rousing defense of his record on, of all things, holding town halls. “We’ve done over 60 town halls” — during his six years in office — “14 in person, and this is now our 49th telephone town hall.” Read more »

DA Candidate El-Shabazz Was Sued in 2010 for Not Paying Daughters’ Springside Tuition

Tariq El-Shabazz | Photo courtesy of El-Shabazz’s campaign

Tariq El-Shabazz | Photo courtesy of El-Shabazz’s campaign

From the very start, Tariq El-Shabazz’s campaign for district attorney has been clouded by stories about his money troubles.

A few days before the Democrat officially jumped into the race, Philly.com reported that there were $190,712 in tax lien judgments filed against him in the city’s Common Pleas Court. Shortly thereafter, news emerged that his former law firm had been taken to court because it allegedly didn’t pay rent. El-Shabazz, who has since satisfied $53,525 of his debts, according to court records, has repeatedly argued that he has the skills to manage the DA’s $52 million budget despite his baggage. Read more »

Sources: Johnny Doc-Tied Super PAC Jumps Into the Philly D.A.’s Race

Jack O'Neill Johnny Doc

L: District Attorney candidate Jack O’Neill R: Labor leader John Dougherty

Building a Better Pennsylvania, a super PAC tied to labor boss John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, is spending more than $120,000 on TV ads throughout the next week supporting Democratic District Attorney candidate Jack O’Neill, according to two sources familiar with the ad buy. Read more »

A Super PAC Just Dumped a Whole Lot of Money Into the Philly District Attorney Race

Larry Krasner 2

Photo courtesy of Larry Krasner’s campaign

The rumor has been swirling around Philadelphia’s political circles for months: A super PAC will throw its weight behind Democratic District Attorney candidate Larry Krasner.

Well, the gossip finally came true.

A group called the “Philadelphia Justice & Public Safety PAC” is spending about $300,000 on pro-Krasner TV advertisements airing from April 26th to May 2nd, according to PAC officer Whitney Tymas. If the super PAC keeps up that level of spending, it will pour almost $1 million into the race by Election Day. Read more »

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