A group of retired police officers in Philadelphia see the seven-figure investment from billionaire George Soros in the 2017 race for district attorney as a “wrecking ball” that demolished the election in Larry Krasner’s favor.
Soros, a philanthropist who pushes for criminal justice reform and other issues, had already spent about $10 million around the country to back progressive candidates for top prosecutor jobs in 2017 when he focused on the Democratic primary here. Philadelphia Justice and Public Safety, a PAC he funded, spent almost $1.7 million to help Krasner.
“We’re going to be the counter-punch to George Soros and the movement that he’s working on with these DA races,” Protect Our Police PAC president Nick Gerace said. “He’s pumped a lot of money into these races across the country.”
The group has already received 30 applications for support from candidates for state and local prosecutorial and legislative offices across the country, with about 80% running this year and the rest planning 2021 campaigns.
A PAC questionnaire asks candidates for their positions on “the defund the police movement,” “qualified immunity for law enforcement,” and if they “agree with prosecuting rioters and looters who have illegally caused millions of dollars in damages while participating in protests across the United States.”
While the group has a national mission, Gerace said that “Let-em-go-Larry is very much on our radar for next year” — using a nickname coined by critics who see Krasner as soft on crime.
Krasner shrugged that off.
“We have seen this kind of effort in at least three cities recently, where progressive DAs have been reelected with solid margins of victory,” Krasner said. “I remain focused on my job and my reelection.”
Gerace said the PAC has received about 3,000 donations so far, coming from all 50 states. Most of that doesn’t turn up yet in campaign finance reports. But the Fraternal Order of Police lodge in Philadelphia, a constant Krasner critic, kicked in $10,000 in June.
Leaders of local Jewish groups and Black elected officials outraged by an anti-Semitic image posted on Facebook two weeks ago by Philadelphia NAACP president Rodney Muhammad have heard only silence from the group’s national leadership. And they’re not alone.
The local NAACP chapter’s executive board says it can’t get answers from national president Derrick Johnson either.
Bishop J. Louis Felton, the local chapter’s first vice president, said the board learned from media reports last week that Johnson planned to come to Philadelphia to meet with people concerned about Muhammad.
“We have also reached out to the national office,” Felton said. “We have gotten nothing in response. Not one word. So there’s something fishy about it.”
Felton said the executive board confronted Muhammad about the post in a meeting last week.
“He came out explaining it and trying to justify it,” Felton said. “You do not justify anti-Semitism.”
Muhammad has gone as quiet as the national leadership. He previously said he didn’t realize the image — which included a caricature of a hook-nosed, yarmulke-wearing figure on the sleeve of an unseen person who is crushing a mass of people with a ring-bedecked hand — was offensive.
The national office, in an unsigned statement last week, accepted Muhammad’s explanation and incorrectly suggested he had publicly apologized for his actions. The NAACP’s Mid-Atlantic director emailed Clout the same statement this week and said he could provide no other information.
Felton said Muhammad is “damaged goods” if he can’t make a full apology.
“It’s not about Rodney Muhammad anymore,” he said. “It’s about the fact that we’re severely damaged as an organization.”
Clout isn’t sure about that. But we do think the group’s sample of likely voters better reflects the state’s voter registration than a previous attempt.
The PAC, as Clout reported in May, claimed its polling that month showed Trump up 4.7% over Biden in Pennsylvania, a result that conflicted with other polling, which showed Biden ahead.
That might have been because that May poll under-sampled registered Democratic voters in the state by almost 11% while over-sampling Republicans by almost 6%. Independents were also under-sampled by almost 6%.
The PAC, funded by Illinois shipping-supplies billionaire Richard Uihlein, says it was founded because “national polling results are disjointed and hard to interpret.”
Dan Curry of Restoration PAC said its pollsters don’t try to weigh results by voter registration. They just keep making calls until they reach enough likely voters who meet the screening requirements.
That’s not how polls are supposed to work.