After the anti-police chants, an opportunity in the DA's race for the GOP?
Have anti-police chants at the victory party for Larry Krasner, the Democratic nominee for district attorney in Philadelphia, opened a rare political opportunity for Republicans in the general election?
The backlash rose up not long after the chants died down at the Tuesday night primary election victory party for Larry Krasner.
But will it mean anything in the Nov. 7 general election for district attorney in Philadelphia?
Some people in the crowd, celebrating Krasner's election as the Democratic nominee, chanted, "No good cops in a racist system," and another phrase about the local police union that included an expletive.
The Pennsylvania Republican Party saw an opening in the backlash.
"In nominating Larry Krasner for district attorney, Philadelphia Democrats have selected a left-wing, anti-law-enforcement radical who would make Philadelphia streets more dangerous," said Val DiGiorgio, chairman of the state Republican Party.
That emailed statement Wednesday, and a plea for money emailed to party supporters a few hours later, also slammed Mayor Kenney and George Soros, the billionaire who sank $1.45 million into an independent political action committee that supported Krasner in the seven-candidate primary.
The state party tripled-down Friday with a statement from DiGiorgio, denouncing U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. -- a Democrat seeking a third term next year -- for not denouncing Krasner for the chants at his party.
One person not mentioned in the statements or in the fund-raising plea: Beth Grossman, the experienced former assistant district attorney who on Tuesday ran unopposed for the Republican nomination for district attorney.
If this is how the Republican Party unifies behind Grossman, it's off to a rocky start.
Grossman, who served 21 years in the District Attorney's Office, said the state party missed an opportunity to talk up her candidacy while criticizing Krasner.
Michael Meehan, who last month became chairman of the Republican City Committee, said the state party's statement and fund-raising letter were not a local production.
"I don't know who put out that message, but nobody cleared it with me," Meehan said. "I don't disagree with them [about the chants]. There were some terrible things said in the background. I don't condone them."
Krasner, a defense attorney known for civil rights cases, including representing members of Black Lives Matter, has never worked as a prosecutor.
"Mr. Krasner is what he is," Meehan said. "I'm for Beth. I think she articulated a very good message."
DiGiorgio, who became state party chairman in February, conceded Friday that the Republican messages about Krasner had omitted any mention of Grossman.
"You shouldn't read anything into that," DiGiorgio said. "We fully support Beth Grossman."
U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, chairman of the Democratic City Committee, knocked the Republicans for focusing on the chanting at Krasner's party, which was quickly tamped down by campaign staffers.
"They did chant that," Brady said. "And he shut that down right away. I think it's a disgrace that the Republican Party is trying to exploit that for their own behalf and not even for their candidate's behalf."
Republicans running for district attorney in Philadelphia always lag well behind Democrats in fund-raising. DiGiorgio said Friday that opposition to Krasner might change that this year, though he was not prepared to discuss specifics.
Grossman said she has seen an uptick in fund-raising since the primary ended, though she was not sure if news about Krasner's party played a role in that. She declined to say how much money has been raised.
"There's been a tremendous response on social media," she said.
While the Soros money helped boost Krasner to victory, an adviser to the political action committee he funded, Philadelphia Justice & Public Safety said Soros had no plans to put additional money into the effort.
Campaign finance reports show that, by Monday, the PAC had spent all of the $1.45 million Soros invested.
Grossman's plan for the general election is to contrast her experience, working in every division of the District Attorney's Office, with Krasner's lack of prosecutorial experience and the progressive positions he took during the primary.
She may be assisted in that because of a certain unease that settled in among some assistant district attorneys after Tuesday, due to Krasner's previous -- and at times vociferous -- criticism of the prosecutors he faces off with in courtrooms.
Krasner is on vacation. But his campaign moved quickly to quash any sense that he was not taking seriously the general election.
"We are very clear that Krasner won the Democratic primary," campaign spokesman Ben Waxman said. "He did not win the general election and is not district attorney-elect. We know we have a general election. We know it's going to be a vigorous campaign."
For now, Grossman faces the most daunting challenges in the race.
It has been 26 years since a Republican held the post of district attorney in Philadelphia, where registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans 7-1.
Recent Republican nominees have not fared well in general elections. In 2005, then-District Attorney Lynne Abraham was reelected with 82 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Louis S. Schwartz. Abraham didn't seek another term in 2009.
Seth Williams, after winning that year's Democratic primary election, won the general election with 75 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Michael Untermeyer, who ran as a Democrat this year and finished fifth.
Williams easily won a second term in 2013 with 81 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Daniel Alvarez.
One thing Grossman has going for her: The current district attorney is mired in scandal, with a federal criminal trial scheduled to start June 19.
Williams dropped his bid for a third term in February and was indicted by a federal grand jury in March, accused of taking bribes from two businessmen and stealing money meant for the care of his elderly mother. Federal prosecutors added more charges May 9, accusing Williams of misusing money from his political action committee for personal expenses at private clubs.
Grossman was a Democrat until 2013, when she became a Republican. She rejoined the Democrats in 2015 and switched back to Republican last June.
Grossman has said she decided to run as a Republican "to free Philadelphia from the dangerous, inevitable corruption of one-party rule."