A political action committee organized this summer by retired Philadelphia police officers eager to oust District Attorney Larry Krasner next year said it supported 69 candidates in 17 states in last week’s election.

And while Protect Our Police PAC says 38 of those candidates won, it lost its first face-off with billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros.

Soros, who spent almost $1.7 million to help Krasner win the 2017 Democratic primary election, gave $244,000 to a Georgia PAC backing Shalena Cook Jones, who defeated two-term Republican Chatham County (Savannah) District Attorney Meg Heap.

The Protect Our Police PAC took heat in the race, with complaints that a billboard it posted was racist because it made it seem Jones supported violent protest (Jones is Black, Heap is white) and that mailers attacking Soros' involvement were anti-Semitic. The PAC denounced those as “false accusations meant to discredit and distract” and said, “We unequivocally denounce racism and anti-Semitism.”

PAC president Nick Gerace feels confident about 2021, vowing to “counter George Soros' efforts to elect weak prosecutors who too often side with criminals rather than victims.”

The PAC gave $30,000 last month to State Rep. Martina White, Philadelphia’s only Republican state legislator and a regular Krasner foe. It also sent mailers to retired cops supporting the reelection of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, an occasional Krasner foe.

Krasner has shrugged off the PAC so far, dismissing in an August fund-raising email the idea that “no one should ever challenge the thin blue line, no matter the abuse or discrimination that occurs in our communities.”

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for president, did not appear on the Pennsylvania ballot for the general election.
Howie Hawkins for President
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for president, did not appear on the Pennsylvania ballot for the general election.

Pennsylvania Democrats may have saved Biden by knocking the Green Party candidate off the ballot

In a particularly litigious presidential campaign, one legal fight may have saved President-elect Joe Biden’s chances of winning Pennsylvania — and the presidency.

The state Supreme Court, in a split verdict Sept. 17, removed Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins from the ballot for improper paperwork. The legal challenge was filed on behalf of two Democrats by Pittsburgh attorney Clifford Levine, who was representing the Pennsylvania Democratic Party in other cases.

“The concern was that, if you looked at the results in 2016, the Green Party candidate got more votes than the margin between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,” Levine said Monday. “There was obviously a concern that a third-party candidate may effectively dilute the focus that we thought was important, that it be a race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.”

Jill Stein, the Green Party’s 2016 nominee, won 49,941 votes in Pennsylvania in 2016, as Clinton fell to Trump by 44,292 votes, a margin of just 0.7%.

Biden held a lead of about 54,000 votes over Trump in the state, as of Thursday. Pennsylvania secured an Electoral College win for Biden on Saturday as media outlets across the country called the state in his favor.

The Green Party’s nominees for attorney general, auditor general, and treasurer all won far more votes than Biden’s lead.

Larry Otter, the Green Party’s attorney, said the race may have remained unresolved but for the removal of Hawkins. State law requires an automatic recount if a race is decided by a margin of 0.5% or less. News outlets didn’t call the race until after Biden’s lead eclipsed that benchmark.

“Obviously the Democratic challenge to the Green Party may have made the difference at the presidential level between an automatic recount and no recount,” Otter said.

Dean Browning, a Republican who ran for the U.S. House in Lehigh County, had some explaining to do about his Twitter account.
The Morning Call
Dean Browning, a Republican who ran for the U.S. House in Lehigh County, had some explaining to do about his Twitter account.

A white former Pa. Republican candidate tweeted that he is ‘a black gay guy’ and the internet had questions

Dean Browning had some explaining to do.

The Republican former Lehigh County commissioner, who lost a congressional primary this year, bills himself on Twitter as “a proud pro-life & pro-2A Christian conservative dedicated to enacting common sense solutions to Keep America Great.”

So it came as something of a surprise when he tweeted this message Tuesday morning:

“I’m a black gay guy and I can personally say that Obama did nothing for me, my life only changed a little bit and it was for the worse. Everything is so much better under Trump though. I feel respected — which I never do when democrats are involved.”

Social media had a field day.

Browning, who did not respond to a request for comment, went viral in a way politicians dread. Twitter ranked him on its list of trending topics. He deleted the original tweet and later said in another that he had been “quoting a message that I received earlier this week from a follower.”

Several people suggested Browning accidentally posted the first message from his real Twitter account, thinking he was logged on to a “burner” account — a fake persona some people use to hide their identity.

Browning’s tweet sounded similar to the thoughts expressed by another Twitter account, whose owner identified himself as a gay Black man and Trump fan.

William Holte, who operated that account under the name Dan Purdy, posted a video, insisting that Browning had accidentally posted a message Holte had sent to him. Twitter suspended his account.

Holte, a nephew of famed Philly singer Patti LaBelle, claimed he was penalized for supporting Trump. He acknowledged it was his second Twitter suspension.