In the rough-and-tumble world of Philadelphia Democratic politics, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah's bid for a 12th term has been a curiously congenial affair.

Fattah has declared himself fully focused on Tuesday's primary, pushing off any concern about his federal trial on racketeering charges, which is scheduled to begin 20 days after that.

What a difference last July's indictment (and the long-running federal probe that led to it) made: In his many runs as the incumbent, Fattah, 59, had never faced a primary challenger in the Second Congressional District. Now he faces three.

State Rep. Dwight Evans of Northwest Philadelphia, who has served 36 years in the state House, is Fattah's best-known and most powerful challenger. But Evans rejects any suggestion that Fattah's indictment was a factor in his deciding to run.

Dan Muroff, a lawyer and ward leader, and Brian Gordon, a Lower Merion Township commissioner, are cautious in admitting they entered the race because Fattah faces legal troubles.

Muroff, 48, said the indictment "absolutely" encouraged him to run, but quickly added, "Am I going to pile on? No."

Gordon, 55, sounded a similar note. "Yes, it was absolutely a factor in my decision to run," he said. "Is it part of my campaign? Absolutely not."

Fattah has almost exclusively taken the high road. In a joint interview with his challengers, he repeatedly said they all have something to offer his district, which covers parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

He has at times needled Evans for his age. At 61, Evans would make an old rookie in the House, Fattah has said.

And Fattah tags Evans for his role in having crafted the state legislation that created Philadelphia's School Reform Commission 15 years ago, removing local control.

But mostly Fattah runs on his record, easily rattling off the scores of projects - education, housing, job training, health - he has helped to fund with federal dollars.

"Every time I've won an election, literally millions of people have been helped," he said.

Fattah has steadfastly denied federal prosecutors' allegations against him - that he took bribes from a lobbyist and misused campaign contributions, charitable donations, and federal grant money under his control to pay off debts.

Predicting he will prevail at trial, he said local voters should not "trade away" his seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which he hopes to one day chair for his party.

"I'm doing real work in the Congress," he said. "The likelihood is, my best work is in front of me."

Evans, a former mayoral candidate and an influential politician - his endorsement was seen as pivotal to Mayor Kenney's landslide win last year - presents himself as a champion for cities, a candidate who will put urban issues back on the national agenda. He cites as proof of this his efforts to pass the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) 25 years ago.

"That had nothing to do with seniority," Evans said. "That had to do with leadership."

Muroff, a former president of the advocacy group CeaseFire PA, has made gun violence a central focus of his campaign, visiting neighborhoods soon after shootings. He calls for more stringent screenings of gun buyers.

"I'm not sure if 90 percent of Americans agree that the world is round," he said. "But 90 percent of Americans agree that mandatory criminal background checks are something we should do."

Muroff, who worked in the House as a staffer, has also said that he is the only Fattah challenger who knows how Congress actually works.

Gordon has used his campaign to speak about education, poverty, and violence, linking those issues. He has called for an increase in the minimum wage, reduction of the country's prison population, and a law to allow states to legalize the sale of marijuana as long as the taxes on it are used to fund a state's poorest public schools.

"It would be a new revenue stream, not touched or grabbed by anybody, to go to public schools," Gordon said.

James Jones, 60, the owner of a human-resources consulting firm, is the lone Republican in his party's primary on Tuesday.

The Second District is the only one in Pennsylvania in which a majority of residents - 58 percent - are African American. Democrats dominate there, with 81 percent of the registered voters, while Republicans have 8.5 percent, and independents and smaller political parties are 10 percent.

215-854-5973 @ByChrisBrennan

Chaka Fattah

Age: 59

Residence: East Falls.

Family: Wife, Renee; four children.

Education: Master's degree, Fels School of Government, University of Pennsylvania.

Occupation: Congressman, 11 terms.

Campaign website:

Career: Former member of the state House and Senate.

Dwight Evans

Age: 61

Residence: East Mount Airy.

Family: Single.

Education: Philadelphia Community College and La Salle University.

Occupation: Member of the state House since 1981.

Campaign website:

Career: Philadelphia School District, Urban League of Philadelphia.

Dan Muroff

Age: 48

Residence: East Mount Airy

Family: Wife, Melissa.

Education: Drexel University, Chicago Kent College of Law.

Occupation: Lawyer.

Campaign web site:

Career: Democratic leader of the Ninth Ward, former president of CeaseFire PA.

Brian Gordon

Age: 55

Residence: Lower Merion Township.

Family: Wife, Julie; one child.

Education: Law degree, University of Wisconsin.

Occupation: Lower Merion Township commissioner, lawyer.

Campaign web site:

Career: Congressional intern, research aide to a member of the British Parliament.