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 »

Untermeyer Ahead in His Own Weeks-Old Poll for Philly DA Race

Photo courtesy of the Untermeyer campaign.

Philadelphia District Attorney candidate Michael Untermeyer has released his own polling data for the May 16th primary — albeit a survey where calls went out from April 30th to May 1st — and has called into question the validity of a poll conducted on behalf of his opponent Joe Khan.

“The results of the survey released by Municipoll on behalf of former George W. Bush administration member Joe Khan has a variety of challenges,” Untermeyer spokesman Sam Miller tells Philly Mag. 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 »

Poll: Khan and Krasner Tied in DA Race

Democratic DA candidates Joe Khan, left, and Larry Krasner. Photos courtesy of the respective campaigns.

A poll commissioned by Democrat Joe Khan and conducted on May 11th shows that the district attorney candidate is tied with criminal defense lawyer Larry Krasner at 20 percent of the vote in the upcoming primary election.

“Our momentum in the polls reflects our strong grassroots support,” said Khan in a release. “Philadelphia deserves a progressive prosecutor as District Attorney, and with morale in the D.A.’s office at an all-time low, the men and women serving as prosecutors to keep our city safe deserve a leader who has supervised prosecutors and investigations. As a career criminal defense lawyer who has never prosecuted a single case, Larry Krasner is not the right candidate for the job.” Read more »

OPINION: Why Rich Negrin Should Be Our Next DA

Rich Negrin

Richard Negrin | Photo courtesy of Mark Nevins

Next Tuesday our city will have the chance to vote for a new district attorney amid a federal investigation that’s put a dark cloud over the office. With eight candidates running (seven from the Democratic Party), voter turnout might increase in comparison to previous low-turnout cycles. I predict, however, that voter turnout will still not exceed 20 percent because this is not a national election cycle. Further, I predict that three regions will dominate the turnout: Center City, the suburban Northwest, and the working-class Northeast. Given those factors, a thorough process of elimination will leave you with only one candidate able to secure enough votes to come out on top: former city managing director Richard Negrin.

Read more »

Gold Star Father Khizr Khan Endorses Joe Khan in D.A. Race

District Attorney Race, Philly D.A. race

L: Khizr Khan (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo) | R: Joe Khan courtesy of Khan’s campaign

You remember Khizr Khan – the Muslim American Gold Star father who was thrown into the national spotlight after his passionate anti-Donald Trump speech during the Democratic National Convention? The man who U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Tom Keefe nominated to run for the Virginia General Assembly?

Well, Khizr Khan just weighed in on the crowded race for Philly district attorney, and he’s throwing his support behind candidate Joe Khan (who happens to have the same last name as him).  Read more »

The D.A. Candidate Who Wants to Stop Prosecuting Most Low-Level Drug Offenses

Joe Khan | Photo courtesy of Khan's campaign

Joe Khan | Photo courtesy of Khan’s campaign

Joe Khan is a young progressive running for district attorney who wants to ditch cash bail, revamp the civil asset forfeiture program, and stop prosecuting most simple drug possession cases. “I think it’s becoming more and more clear,” he says, “that when we talk about the people buying and using opioids or other drugs, that the approach of treating this as a criminal matter is simply just not making sense and is not being an effective use of our resources.”

If Khan’s platform sounds familiar, that’s because civil rights attorney Larry Krasner and ex-prosecutor Michael Untermeyer are also running for D.A. on some of the same ideas. In order to win, Khan will need to set himself apart from the Democratic field. Read more »

OPINION: Crowded District Attorney Race Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

There is an adage that goes: “To speak without thinking is to shoot without aiming.”

Someone should have told that to former federal prosecutor Joe Khan during a event featuring district attorney candidates at Philly for Change on South Street earlier this month. I was there to get a personal glimpse at three-fifths of the field that was at that point running against Seth Williams for the role of top prosecutor. In attendance were former city managing director Richard Negrin, former Municipal Court judge Teresa Carr Deni, and Khan. (Not present were Democrat Michael Untermeyer and Republican Beth Grossman, and the event was held before civil rights attorney Larry Krasner threw his hat in.) Read more »

D.A. Candidate Donates $250,000 to Own Campaign, Triggering “Millionaire’s Provision”

Left: Michael Untermeyer via Facebook, Right: Seth Williams, photo by Matt Rourke, Associated Press

Left: Michael Untermeyer via Facebook, Right: Seth Williams, photo by Matt Rourke, Associated Press

On Monday, the Philadelphia Board of Ethics announced that Michael Untermeyer, one of five candidates hoping to unseat Seth Williams as district attorney later this year, had donated more than $250,000 of his own money to his campaign effort.

A self-directed donation of that size triggers the so-called “millionaire’s provision” in the local campaign finance law, automatically raising the limit on campaign donations from individuals and political committees. Now, donations will be capped at $6,000 for individuals and $23,800 for political committees, up from $3,000 and $11,900, respectively. The new limits will hold even if Untermeyer quits the race or his campaign returns a portion of his donation, according to an Ethics Board advisory. Read more »

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