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May 16, 2017

Krasner wins Democratic race for Philadelphia district attorney

Rebecca Rhynhart defeats incumbent city controller Alan Butkovitz

Primary Election District Attorney
05162017_Larry_Krasner Source/Krasner campaign

Former defense attorney Larry Krasner is Philadelphia's new district attorney.

In an off-year primary election contest that many considered competitive and drew relatively few voters, defense attorney Larry Krasner won Tuesday's Democratic race for Philadelphia district attorney.

With 98 percent of the precincts in, Krasner collected 38 percent of the vote, about 58, 140 votes, according to unofficial tallies.

He was trailed by career prosecutor Joe Khan (20 percent), former city managing director and prosecutor Rich Negrin (14 percent) and former defense attorney and assistant district attorney Tariq El-Shabazz (12 percent) and three other candidates, real estate developer and attorney Michael Untermeyer (8 percent), private attorney and former prosecutor John O'Neill (6 percent) and longtime Municipal Court judge Teresa Deni (1 percent).

Krasner will face Beth Grossman, the lone Republican on the ballot, in the general election in November. It is widely presumed the Democratic candidate will win the office.

Rebecca Rhynhart/LinkedIn

Rebecca Rhynhart defeated incumbent city controller Alan Butkovitz.

In the Democratic race for city controller, Rebecca Rhynhart defeated incumbent Alan Butkovitz, who was seeking his fourth term. She had captured 59 percent of the vote, about 77,700 votes, to Butkovitz' 41 percent with 98 percent of the precincts counted. There is no Republican candidate for the office.

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“I wish to congratulate Larry Krasner and Beth Grossman on their primary victories," Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. "The people of Philadelphia made clear they want a District Attorney who will implement progressive reform, while also keeping our city safe. I look forward to working with Larry or Beth to achieve those goals, following the General Election.

"I also want to express my sincerest congratulations to Rebecca Rhynhart and Michael Tomlinson on their primary victories. I saw firsthand that Rebecca is capable of making government more efficient and effective."

Kenney also thanked Butkovitz for his many years of service to the city.

"There’s no question that Philadelphia is better off because of his leadership," he said.

Krasner, 56, has worked as a private defense attorney since 1993, handling civil rights cases and defending various political activists, including members of Black Lives Matter. Before that, he served as a public defender for six years.

During his campaign, Krasner touted his progressive beliefs, saying he would end mass incarceration by refusing to prosecute insufficient cases, freeing wrongfully convicted prisoners and treating addiction as an illness rather than a crime. He has said he will not pursue death sentences and will end civil asset forfeiture.

Krasner defended LeSean McCoy when the former Eagle was accused of assaulting off-duty police officers at a Philly nightclub. He also successfully defended six narcotics officers in a federal corruption case.

Krasner, who had gained the support of a political action committee linked to billionaire George Soros, owns a law degree from Stanford University. He is married to Court of Common Pleas Judge Lisa M. Rau.

Before launching her campaign, Rhynhart was chief administrative officer under Mayor Jim Kenney and previously city treasurer and budget director under former Mayor Michael Nutter. She had based her campaign on three priorities: spend taxpayer dollars more efficiently and effectively as a way to save millions of dollars annually, increase transparency of city government by making data public and improve the performance of the city's pension fund investments.


The following results were reported in Philadelphia judicial races.

Twenty-seven Democrats sought election to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas with registered Democrats and Republicans voting for up to nine candidates.

Winning on the Democratic side, with 94 percent of the precincts reporting, were Stella Tsai (7.69 percent of the vote), Vikki Kristiansson (7.55 percent), Lucretia Clemons (5.66 percent), Deborah Cianfrani (5.30 percent), Zac Shaffer (4.79 percent), Deborah Canty (4.76 percent), Mark B. Cohen (4.44 percent), Shanese Johnson (4.42 percent) and Vincent Furlong (4.35 percent), who was also the lone Republican in the primary.

Six Democrats were seeking election to Philadelphia Municipal Court. Registered Democrats could vote for up to two candidates.

Winning their party's nomination, with 94 percent of precincts reporting, were Marissa Brumbach (37.98 percent of the vote) and Matt Wolf (25.33 percent.) There are no Republican candidates running.


The following unofficial results were reported in statewide judicial contests with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Winning Democratic nominations to serve on state Superior Court were Philadelphia judges Maria McLaughlin (23 percent of the vote), Carolyn Nichols (23 percent), Beaver County Judge Deborah Anne Kunselman (21 percent) and Superior Court Judge Geoff Moulton (18 percent), who is trying to retain the seat he was appointed to last year.

Winning Republican nominations for the court were Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman (24 percent of the vote), Blair County Judge Wade Kagarise (21 percent), Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano (20 percent) and Mary Murray (20 percent), a district judge in Allegheny County.

For Commonwealth Court, Philadelphia Judge Ellen Ceisler (24 percent) and Pittsburgh lawyer Irene McLaughlin Clark (21 percent) won the two available Democratic nominations.

Two Republicans – Delaware County Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon and Pittsburgh lawyer Paul Lalley – were uncontested as their party nominees.

Incumbent Justice Sallie Mundy, who was appointed last year, is the lone Republican candidate for the state Supreme Court, which has a 5-2 Democratic majority. She will run in November against Allegheny County Judge Dwayne Woodruff, a Democrat and former player for the Pittsburgh Steelers.