Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has had a busy week.
So far, he has reignited a political feud with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, referred to prosecutors who left his office when he took over as “war criminals,” and warned progressive voters to give former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden the cold shoulder.
That bill started as a way for the attorney general to have joint jurisdiction with every county in the state on gun crimes, but in the end, the legislation gave Shapiro power over some of those cases only in Philadelphia. Krasner was incensed by what he sees as a power grab by his fellow Democrat. And he’s not letting go.
“It’s a little like saying the guy stole your wallet and ran down the street. Is it over? No!” Krasner told Clout on Thursday. On 6ABC, Krasner said Shapiro — widely expected to run for governor in 2022 — got caught playing politics for that future race and then was burned by the backlash when people, including some legislators who voted for it, realized what the legislation did.
Krasner does not buy Shapiro’s claims that he was interested in joint jurisdiction statewide, didn’t want the Philly-only legislation that emerged, and supports repealing the law.
Jacklin Rhoads, a Shapiro spokesperson, hit back Thursday at what she described as “political antics” Kranser is using to “distract from his own record.”
“These continuous personal attacks on the attorney general and our staff are beneath the office of the district attorney, and our office will continue to focus on public safety rather than name-calling,” Rhoads said in an email.
Krasner also fired off a few salvos in a Los Angeles Times story Monday, in which he cited an office joke about the “war criminals” — assistant prosecutors who fled after he took over, some of whom took jobs with Shapiro.
As the joke goes, DA’s staffers now call the Attorney General’s Office “Paraguay,” Krasner told Clout, a reference to the South American country where Nazis took refuge after World War II.
As for Biden, Krasner, like a lot of Democrats, is wary of the former U.S. senator’s record on criminal justice, especially the 1994 crime bill. He predicts Biden will lose if he is the Democratic nominee challenging President Donald Trump next year.
“It really is a voice of a prior generation,” Krasner said. “As long as the Democratic Party is Republican Light, and that’s what Joe Biden is, they’re going to lose.”
Sherrie Cohen, a Democrat turned independent candidate for Philadelphia City Council, is eager to focus on the Nov. 5 general election and not the controversy that upended her primary campaign. Deja Lynn Alvarez had other ideas.
Alvarez, a Democrat who ran for Council in the May 21 primary, on Wednesday filed one of two legal challenges to Cohen’s nomination petitions. The other was filed by the Republican City Committee.
Cohen, an LGBTQ activist, filed to run in the primary as a Democrat in her third bid for a Council at-large seat. But that run dead-ended after her campaign manager heckled Alvarez, the first transgender woman to run for Council, at a trans pride flag-raising event at City Hall.
Cohen told The Inquirer when she withdrew from the race on April 18 that her “intentions are to help heal” the city’s LGBTQ community. But she also left the Democratic Party that day, the first step in running as an independent in the fall.
“She lied to the community,” Alvarez said Thursday. “She told everyone she was dropping out of the race to heal the community. That’s not what she was doing. She had an ulterior plan.”
Cohen dismisses Alvarez’s suit as “frivolous” and insists she has been true to her word. “My dropping out of the race did help heal the community,” she said.
Cohen may be vulnerable because the state Election Code says independent candidates can’t have filed petitions in a party primary. Yet a 2005 Commonwealth Court case raises questions about whether that applies to candidates who withdraw from the primary, as Cohen did.
Turns out not all national political controversies have a local franchise. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who is chairman of his twin brother’s presidential campaign, caused a stir Monday when he tweeted the names of 44 donors from San Antonio who had maxed out on campaign contributions to Trump.
In the game, this is called “name and shame.”
That gave Jon Geeting, a local political operative, an idea. He tweeted a list Wednesday of 120 donors to Trump’s campaign from Philadelphia, asking if followers would kick in for “a full-page Inquirer ad blasting these names out to the world."
Geeting felt no backlash and little interest.
“I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere," he said Thursday. "There’s not that much interest in getting an ad.”