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Philadelphians will vote today in the city’s municipal election.

The highest-profile race is the contest for district attorney between Democrat Seth Williams and Republican Michael Untermeyer.

The position of district attorney, who serves as the city’s chief prosecutor, offers a great degree of public exposure. Several past Philadelphia district attorneys have gone on to higher political offices, including Gov. Edward Rendell and Sen. Arlen Specter (D- Pa.).

Williams, a former city inspector general and assistant district attorney, was endorsed by Specter last week.

“Seth Williams is a great, great candidate because of his history and his promise for the future of the city,” Specter said in a press release. “Being district attorney here in Philadelphia was one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever had and I’m happy to see that it will be taken over by a young man with a lot of drive and a lot of talent.”

Williams has also garnered endorsements from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, Penn Democrats, Drexel Democrats, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Tribune.

“Seth was the clear choice for our endorsement,” Penn Dems President Jordan Levine, a College junior and former Daily Pennsylvanian advertising representative, told The Daily Pennsylvanian at the time of the endorsement. “His enthusiasm for reform was a call-to-action for our members, and we are excited to help Seth’s campaign.”

Williams won the Democratic primary in May, surpassing four rivals with over 40 percent of the vote.

Untermeyer, a private practice attorney and former assistant district attorney, ran unopposed in the Republican primary and is the underdog in the race.

Philadelphia has not had a Republican district attorney since Ronald Castille — the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania — left the position in 1991.

Democrat Lynne Abraham, the current district attorney, has served since then and will have held the office longer than anyone before her when her term is over next year.

Williams ran for district attorney in 2005, but was defeated by Abraham in the Democratic primary.

Another position up for election today is city controller, who maintains and audits the city’s accounts.

Democrat Alan Butkovitz, the current controller, will face off against Republican challenger Al Schmidt.

Voters will also choose new and retained judges for the Pennsylvania Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth Courts; the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and the Philadelphia Municipal Court.

And nearby, New Jersey residents will cast their votes in the state’s high-profile gubernatorial race between incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and his Republican opponent Chris Christie.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Pennsylvania.

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