The progressive prosecutor movement picked up another victory on Tuesday night as Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner survived a challenge in the Democratic primary from former homicide prosecutor Carlos Vega.
The Associated Press projected Krasner as the winner late Tuesday, and Vega conceded on Twitter shortly before midnight.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, “As of Wednesday morning, with 72% of the projected vote counted, Krasner held a wide advantage, 65% to 35%. In a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans seven to one, Krasner is now very likely to win November’s general election.”
Krasner, 60, is widely considered the favorite to defeat GOP challenger and local attorney Charles Peruto Jr. in November. In 2017, Krasner won the general election with 75% support.
“Four years ago we promised reform and a focus on serious crime,” Krasner told supporters. “We kept those promises. And this time they put us back in office for what we have done. Not ideas, not promises, but realities.”
— The Philadelphia Inquirer (@PhillyInquirer) May 19, 2021
According to The Inquirer, “Vega, 64, was a prosecutor for 35 years until Krasner fired him during his first week as DA in 2018,” and:
Krasner cast the election as a choice between returning to a past of discrimination in the criminal justice system or continuing to remake prosecution in the city — with an emphasis on fair treatment for defendants, reducing mass incarceration, exonerating wrongfully convicted prisoners, and holding police accountable for wrongdoing.
“This is a showdown between the past and the future,” Krasner said earlier Tuesday while campaigning outside a West Philadelphia polling place.
Vega centered his campaign on concerns about violent crime — an increase happening in large cities across the country, including ones with more traditional prosecutors. He promised a balance of continued reforms and increased public safety.
Philly Mag analyzed city campaign records and found almost three-quarters of the donations made to Krasner’s official campaign came from outside Philadelphia. The outlet identified Patty Quillin, the wife of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and Sarah Barton, the wife of Zillow co-founder Rich Barton, as “some of Krasner’s bigger-name deep-pocketed donors.” Both women reside on the West Coast. More than 18% of Krasner’s contributions came from California.
A political action committee funded by progressive philanthropist George Soros reportedly spent $90,000 on advertisements promoting Krasner. Four years ago, Soros donated nearly $1.7 million to efforts to make Krasner, a longtime defense attorney, Philadelphia’s top prosecutor.
The AP reports, “The Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 5 in Philadelphia had sunk more money and effort into unseating Krasner than perhaps any political race in recent memory, said Lodge President John McNesby.” The union-backed Vega, reportedly blaming rising murders and gun crimes on Krasner’s reform-minded policies. According to the outlet, “McNesby handed out soft-serve cones after parking a Mr. Softee ice cream truck in front of the district attorney’s office with the message that Krasner is soft on crime.”
Vega accused the establishment, celebrities, and media of ignoring victims of crime.
This was not easy for the victims especially. Please remember them. Please give your thoughts to our city. I am hopeful that my opponent will take them more seriously during his tenure.
— Carlos Vega (@VegaForDA) May 19, 2021
“This was not easy for the (crime) victims especially,” Vega said while conceding on social media Tuesday night. “Please remember them… I am hopeful that my opponent will take them more seriously during his tenure.”
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