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.
“Philadelphia Justice & Public Safety is supporting Larry Krasner for district attorney because of his commitment to public safety and criminal justice reform,” said Tymas.
This is a massive boost for Krasner, a civil rights attorney who says he wants to end the use of cash bail and the death penalty. The only other candidate currently on TV is Michael Untermeyer, a former prosecutor whose campaign has spent about $475,000 on ads airing through May 1st. Seven Democrats are running for D.A., and the local Democratic Party is not endorsing anyone in the race, which could make TV advertisements all the more influential.
This also marks a turning point in local politics: A super PAC has never supported a district attorney candidate in Philadelphia before. The 2015 mayoral primary was the first time super PACs got involved in a local election here, and they accounted for two-thirds of all spending that year. Interestingly, the mayoral candidate backed by the most deep-pocketed super PAC, state Sen. Tony Williams, did not win; then again, neither did the candidates who had no super PAC at all.
Asked if George Soros, the billionaire Democratic mega-donor, is funding the pro-Krasner super PAC, Tymas did not immediately respond. Soros has pumped more than $3 million into district attorney campaigns throughout the nation, using super PACs and “527” organizations, each of which has a variation of the name “Safety and Justice.” Tymas has been a treasurer for other Soros-funded super PACs.
In February, Krasner said super PACs are “a modern political reality”: “Conservatives and Republicans have been using super PACs for a very long time, and progressives and liberals have to play the rules of the game as the game exists now.”
The primary election is May 16th. You can learn more about Krasner by reading our extended Q&A with him here.
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