Apr 17, 2024 - News

Primary spotlight: State attorney general

Illustration of the Liberty Bell getting a crack in the shape of a checkmark.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The state's top legal officer is on next week's ballot.

Why it matters: The Pennsylvania attorney general prosecutes crime and corruption, and the office has been a launchpad to running for governor.

State of play: Five Democrats and a pair of Republicans are running in their respective primaries on Tuesday.

  • Current Attorney General Michelle Henry, a Democrat appointed by Gov. Josh Shapiro after his election in 2022, isn't running for the office.

The big picture: Tuesday's election will feature presidential and congressional primaries.

  • Other statewide offices on the ballot include auditor general and state treasurer, and those for all state representatives and some senators.

🧠 Be smart: Pennsylvania has closed primaries: Only registered party members can vote in their party's primary on Tuesday.

Who's running?

Democrats

  • Keir Bradford-Grey: Philly's former chief public defender who, if elected, would become the state's first Black attorney general.
    • Top issues include: Restoring security and safety, and protecting access to abortion, per her campaign website.
  • Eugene DePasquale: A former state House lawmaker and auditor general.
    • Top issues include: Prosecuting hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people, per his campaign website.
  • Joe Khan: A former Bucks County solicitor and Philly prosecutor.
    • Top issues include: Prosecuting corporate greed and protecting the environment, per his campaign website.
  • Jack Stollsteimer: A former Delaware County and federal prosecutor.
    • Top issues include: Fighting for environmental and economic justice, per his campaign website.
  • Jared Solomon: A state representative from Northeast Philly and member of the National Guard.
    • Top issues include: Defending voter rights and reducing gun violence.

Republicans

  • Craig Williams: A U.S. Marine veteran and state representative for parts of Delaware and Chester counties.
    • Top issues include: Reducing crime and gun violence and setting up a task force to focus on how Philly and other cities prosecute certain crimes.

How it works: The attorney general's office, among the most powerful positions in the state, is responsible for enforcing state, consumer protection and antitrust laws.

  • Plus: The attorney general typically can select his or her investigations to focus on.

The intrigue: State Democrats have not endorsed a candidate in the race.

Meanwhile, state Republicans have endorsed Dave Sunday.

Zoom in: The office has undertaken high-profile investigations in recent years.

  • That includes one that resulted in the 2018 report that found that more than 300 Catholic priests in the state had sexually abused children over decades.

What's next: The primary winners will go head-to-head in the November general election.

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