As the primary races heat up for the Philadelphia district attorney, the endorsements are rolling in.
Pennsylvania Working Families Party, along with 10 elected officials endorsed incumbent District Attorney Larry Krasner’s bid for reelection Thursday. WFP also endorsed Krasner in 2017.
“Under Larry Krasner’s leadership, the amount of time people will spend in prison has dropped by over 20,000 years,” said Nicolas O’Rourke, Pennsylvania WFP organizing director. “No prosecutor has done more to change Philadelphia’s deeply broken system in such a short time. His FOP-backed opponent is running a grievance campaign that will move our city backward, not forward.”
Among those endorsing Krasner on Thursday were: Sen. Art Haywood, Sen. Vincent Hughes, Rep. Chris Rabb, Rep. Rick Krajewski, Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Councilmember Kendra Brooks, Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, Councilmember Helen Gym and Councilmember Isaiah Thomas.
The district attorney candidates addressed racial bias in the criminal justice system during a well-attended virtual forum Tuesday evening sponsored by the East Mount Airy Neighbors and West Mount Airy Neighbors.
Krasner touted his office’s diverse hiring practices. He said that he has visited law schools at the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to recruit for his office.
Republican rival A. Charles Peruto Jr., who is unopposed in his party’s primary, said that many of the attorneys of color in the District Attorney’s Office flunked the bar (law exam) not once — but twice. “Our victims lose with that,” he said.
Krasner later characterized Peruto’s comments as “racist.”
Democratic opponent Carlos Vega said of Krasner’s tenure, “The city’s in crisis. We are facing an epidemic of violence. We were promised reform and safety and we did not get that.”
“I’ve experienced racism, poverty, and the scourge of violence. Communities of color like the one I grew up in are hurt most by unchecked violence and unfairness in our criminal justice system,” Vega says on his website. “That’s why we need to root out systemic injustices in our system and prosecute violent crime.
Peruto called Krasner’s record “horrible” and said he must sit down with police and judges and “break bread.”
Krasner complimented the Philadelphia Police Department and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw for collaborating with his office on a few programs to address crime in the city.
The forum also included City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart who is running unopposed for reelection and several candidates for judges for state Supreme Court, state Superior Court, Philadelphia Municipal Court and Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.
The last day to register to vote is May 3 and the primary election is May 18.