March 20, 2016
Congressional Rep. Chaka Fattah has had a rough month. First, the Philadelphia lawmaker's lawyers, who were representing him in a federal corruption case, were dismissed over a payment dispute. Then, a judge rejected his bid to throw out that very case.
Amid his troubles, Fattah, a Democrat, will get a chance to tell voters why he — and not his challengers from both parties — should be re-elected to a 12th term representing Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district.
Fattah faces a primary challenge from State Rep. Dwight Evans as well as Democratic ward leader Dan Muroff and Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon.
Evans leads the incumbent by 16 percentage points, according to a January poll.
The state legislator has also picked up endorsements from several party leaders, including former Governor Ed Rendell, current Governor Tom Wolf and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
Fattah, who has been hit with racketeering charges for allegedly misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal, charitable and campaign funds, would run against Republican James Jones if he once again secured the Democratic nomination.
Thursday's debate won't be the first in the race. Earlier in March, a forum with the candidates was held and the first question Fattah fielded was on the charges.
The congressman said the Constitution guarantees the right to be presumed innocent until trial at the event. He has maintained that he is innocent since the charges were filed.
State Rep. Brian Sims also launched a campaign to challenge Fattah, but he dropped out of the race in February.
Thursday's debate is free for anyone wishing to attend. More information can be found here.