Larry Krasner, the civil rights attorney who has become the darling of national progressives in recent weeks, cruised to victory in the Democratic primary for Philadelphia’s next district attorney.
The Associated Press declared him the winner on the night of May 16. With nearly 75 percent of the vote counted, Krasner held 35 percent of the votes in a seven-person field.
Penn Law School professor Joe Khan remained steady in second place, trailing Krasner by about 15 percentage points.
Krasner will face Republican Beth Grossman in the November general election, where he is highly favored to win. In Philadelphia, over 77 percent of registered voters are Democrats.
For an off-year race, the district attorney primary has garnered a significant amount of national press, mostly due to liberal outlets like The Huffington Post and The Intercept reporting on Krasner’s progressive bona fides.
Krasner, who is avowedly anti-Trump, has aligned himself with many of the same causes former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) campaigned on, including criminal justice reform. He has also said he does not support the death penalty and will not pursue it.
“I am not willing to help ICE with mass deportations,” he told The Intercept in an interview. “I am not willing to help the DEA or the FBI return to the mentality of the war on drugs.”
A lifelong defense attorney, Krasner had never served as a prosecutor before campaigning for Philadelphia’s top prosecutorial position. His campaign was greatly assisted in recent weeks by a $1.45 million donation from billionaire investor George Soros, who contributed in late April to a political action committee supporting Krasner.
Penn Democrats endorsed Krasner on April 18, praising his record on “matters of civil forfeiture, mandatory minimums, and bail reform.”
Another reason for the unusual level of attention on this district attorney’s race is due to controversy that surrounded incumbent DA Seth Williams.
Williams was recently indicted on charges of bribery and corruption, the latest in a string of legal entanglements to ensnare Democratic politicians in Philadelphia. Chaka Fattah, the former U.S. congressman whose area of representation included Penn’s campus, resigned in June, months before he was sentenced to 10 years in jail on related charges.
In the other major race that took place on Tuesday, incumbent Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz lost to Rebecca Rhynhart, who served as Mayor Jim Kenney’s chief administrative officer. Rhynhart, who received an endorsement from former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, will face Republican Mike Tomlinson in the fall.