In retrospect, this appears to be a union destined for an early end.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, a Democrat seeking a third term next year, put a crew of Harrisburg Republicans in charge of his campaign finances earlier this year.

That caused consternation among some local Democrats, including a few known to be recruiting for a candidate to challenge Williams in the 2017 primary election.

The whole thing has been sort of topsy-turvy.

Normally, folks throw a big party and then clean up the mess later.

But the Seth Williams Victory Party, his new political action committee registered with the state five months ago, was created to bring order to the chaos that had been his former PAC, known as "Friends of Seth Williams" until he dismantled it.

The old PAC has drawn the interest of a joint FBI-IRS investigation working with a federal grand jury.

Sources told the Inquirer last August that the feds subpoenaed Williams' PAC records, trying to determine whether he misspent funds on personal expenses.

We also reported last month that a former Williams campaign contributor who invests in local real estate said he was visited by FBI agents, asking about a rental discount he said Williams requested for his ex-wife's house.

Williams has steadfastly declined to comment on all that.

Mike Barley, a former executive director of the Pennsylvania Republican Party and campaign manager for former Gov. Tom Corbett, said the GOP veterans brought in this year to work on the Williams PAC have called it quits.

"A lot of the things we set out to do have been done," Barley said. "I think we stabilized the operation as far as compliance goes."

Barley said he never saw the job of cleaning up Williams' PAC as particularly partisan. But he understood the optics of having Republicans running the show as Williams heads into an election.

"I am a Republican, Seth is a Democrat," Barley said. "This was always part of the plan."

That plan hit some bumps along the way.

The new PAC's first chairman, a Harrisburg bartender, disavowed any knowledge of it when I first called him for a story in March.

The bartender eventually admitted he had agreed to serve as chairman but was quickly replaced, four days after that story appeared, by John Barber III, the chief financial officer at the Urban League in Philadelphia.

Barber, who was in the same Central High School class as Williams, said he is "looking forward to putting together a team" to tout the district attorney's accomplishments in office.

The clock is ticking on Williams' reelection effort.

Today's holiday marks the two-month countdown to Labor Day, which is generally acknowledged in the local political community as the kickoff of not just the general election season but also next May's primary.

Barber said he hopes to "at least have some candidates" for positions on the Williams reelection team by Labor Day.

Williams finds himself in a good-news, bad-news situation right now.

The bad news: Those Democrats with pull currently talking to potential primary challengers.

The good news: So far, those Democrats have not found a viable candidate.

Incumbency is a powerful factor in Philadelphia politics. If the people who wish to depose Williams don't have a strong candidate by the end of the summer, he is likely to win a third term.

That is, unless the campaign-money mess gets so big that the Seth Williams Victory Party can't clean it up.

brennac@phillynews.com

215-854-5973

@ByChrisBrennan