Krasner Cruises; Locals Do Well Statewide

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PROMINENT defense lawyer Larry Krasner broke the mold when he won the race for Philadelphia district attorney. He exulted Tuesday night at his victory party at the William Way Center.

A united Philadelphia Democratic Party brought home its municipal candidates for district attorney and city controller, Larry Krasner and Rebecca Rhynhart.

With 98.1% of the vote tallied, Krasner had 147,666 to Republican Beth Grossman’s 50,107. That was actually a good result for Republicans – 25% of the vote – since registered Republicans are only around 15% of the electorate.

Grossman ran a feisty campaign throughout the city, taking several positions that showed thoughtful independence. She had solid support from public-safety unions, which were discontent with Krasner’s history of opposition to police and prosecutors.

But it was not enough. Krasner spent his campaign touching all bases and making carefully conciliatory comments, allaying fears that he would be too radical in office – while not alienating his progressive supporters who hope he will be radical.

CELEBRATING at the Continental Restaurant were, L-R, State Rep. Jordan Harris, Rebecca Rhynhart, Judge Carolyn Nichols and State Sen. Sharif Street.

Rhynhart faced no serious contest, taking 83% of the vote. Republican Mike Tomlinson did his best but had no resources and no issue that resonated with the electorate. City controller is a technical officer, whose duties most citizens seldom think about.

Important statewide races for appellate judgeships resulted in a partisan wash. The party makeup of Supreme Court and Commonwealth Court remained unchanged while the Dems picked up one seat on Superior Court; Republicans will still form an 8-7 majority on it, however.

Republican Supreme Court Justice Sallie Mundy edged out Democratic challenger Judge Dwayne Woodruff by 1,076,701 to 980,462, with 99.21% of the vote tallied.

Superior Court’s four openings will be filled by Democrat Judges Maria McLaughlin, Carolyn Nichols and Deborah Anne Kunselman, along with Republican Mary Murray, who appears to have noses past her running mate Craig Stedman for the fourth seat.

For Commonwealth Court, Republican Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon and Democrat Judge Ellen Ceisler will both move up.

One clear winner in the state judicial races: Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania. McLaughlin, Nichols and Ceisler are city dwellers, and Fizzano Cannon hails from neighboring Delaware County.

But the most-striking victory was gender-based. All seven winners in contested races were women.

In Philadelphia, a municipal bond sailed through with 69% support. On a state ballot issue – the Homestead Property Tax Assessment Exclusion – Philadelphians turned it down by 61%; statewide, however, it passed with 54% of the vote.

The outcome left something for both parties to crow about.

Democratic State Committee Chair Marcel Groen remarked, “History was made for Democrats in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Delaware County Democrats were elected to countywide seats for the first time since home rule was enacted. Democrats in Chester County swept all four county row offices – treasurer, controller, clerk of courts, and coroner – and all four are women. Democrats in Montgomery County won both judge seats, picked up a number of township, borough, and school district offices to continue to solidify the strength of the party in the region. And Democrats made huge gains in Bucks County.”

Mayor Jim Kenney released the following statement: “I extend my sincerest congratulations to District Attorney-elect Larry Krasner and his team. I look forward to working with him to continue the City’s MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge and our other efforts to make the criminal -justice system more equitable and effective. While we’ve reduced our incarcerated population by nearly 20% in the last two years, there is still important work to do.

“I also congratulate Controller-elect Rebecca Rhynhart. As a cabinet member in my administration, and the budget director under Mayor Nutter, she has worked in City government for many, many years. And as someone who was involved in one way or another in developing how much of our current processes operate, she will be a great partner in creating a more efficient and effective government.”

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