Rendell Endorses Joe Khan in Philly DA Race

The former Pennsylvania governor said the DA's office is in "crisis" – hinting at controversy surrounding Seth Williams – and that he interviewed several candidates before picking Khan.

philly da race

L: Ed Rendell (Screengrab via PCN) | R: Joe Khan (courtesy of Khan’s campaign)

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has endorsed Joe Khan in the race for Philadelphia district attorney. 

Rendell, who served as the city’s district attorney between 1978 and 1985, announced his endorsement of Khan at noon today in City Hall. He hinted at the controversy enveloping current DA Seth Williams, who was indicted on 23 corruption charges last month – a few weeks after he announced he would not run for reelection.

“Sadly, the DA’s office is currently in crisis; but this election presents a great opportunity to change course and move in a new direction,” Rendell said in a statement. “I believe we need a well-seasoned prosecutor with unquestioned integrity and a record of taking on every kind of tough case.”

Khan, a University of Pennsylvania law professor who has prosecuted sexual assault, political corruption and hate crimes in both the DA’s and U.S. Attorney’s office, is one of seven Democrats – and one Republican – vying to take Williams’s spot. A self-identified progressive, Khan’s platform includes plans to stop prosecuting most simple drug possession cases, overhaul the civil asset forfeiture program, defend the city’s so-called sanctuary city status and limit the death penalty to “extreme cases.”

According to NewsWorks, campaign finance reports reflect a growing fundraising battle between Khan and Democratic DA candidate Michael Untermeyer.

Last month, Khan was endorsed by Gold Star father Khizr Khan, who delivered a passionate speech criticizing President Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention in Philly last summer.

Fore more information on the DA race, check out Philadelphia magazine reporter Holly Otterbein’s Q&A series with all eight of the candidates, including Khan, Untermeyer, Lawrence Krasner, Rich Negrin, Tariq El-Shabazz, Teresa Carr Deni, Jack O’Neill and Republican Beth Grossman.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.