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Who is George Bochetto, the Philly lawyer running for Senate?

George Bochetto, 69, has focused much of his campaign for U.S. Senate on crime.

Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate George Bochetto talks with supporters after a live televised debate at Dickinson College Apr. 26, 2022.
Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate George Bochetto talks with supporters after a live televised debate at Dickinson College Apr. 26, 2022.Read moreTOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

George Bochetto is a Philadelphia attorney who has worked on controversial cases such as the ongoing fight to stop the city from removing the Christopher Columbus statue in South Philadelphia’s Marconi Plaza.

Bochetto, 69, is running as a Republican in the May 17 primary for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat, which is being vacated by GOP Sen. Pat Toomey.

» READ MORE: Get to know the 2022 candidates for Pa. Senate and governor

What is George Bochetto’s background?

Bochetto was born in Brooklyn and grew up in an orphanage until he was adopted. He graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a bachelor’s in history before coming to Philadelphia for Temple Law School, from which he graduated in 1978.

He served as Pennsylvania state boxing commissioner from 1995 to 2002. In 1999, he briefly sought the GOP nomination for mayor, campaigning on ending the city wage tax. (Sam Katz won the GOP nod that year before losing to John F. Street, in the closest mayoral general election Philadelphia has seen in generations.)

Bochetto’s law practice has an “emphasis on white collar defense, defamation, RICO matters, commercial litigation, tax and fraud prosecution and defense, injunctive actions, and appellate litigation,” according to the firm’s website.

What are George Bochetto’s top policy priorities?

Bochetto has focused much of his campaign on crime.

“I just cannot within me sit back and watch what’s going on in this country,” Bochetto said at his campaign launch event in March. “The assaults that are taking place on law enforcement. The idea that anyone wants to defund the police is such insanity that I just don’t understand it. I can’t take it. I’m not going to sit back.”

Bochetto has also referred to himself as “pro-life” and “pro-border.” His campaign, however, has otherwise been light on policy. His website doesn’t include a section detailing his policy positions, and much of his social media activity is dedicated to attacking other candidates.

» READ MORE: Everything you need to know about voting in Pa.’s May 2022 primary election

Who is backing George Bochetto?

Bochetto launched his campaign at the headquarters of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, Philadelphia’s police union and one of several law enforcement unions that have endorsed him.

FOP President John McNesby said the local union isn’t supposed to make endorsements in state or federal races, which are typically handled by the union’s national office. But McNesby said he felt compelled to make an exception after being asked to endorse Bochetto by the widow of Daniel Faulkner. Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted in the police officer’s 1981 murder.

Bochetto did free legal work on behalf of Maureen Faulkner after she became critical of District Attorney Larry Krasner’s handling of the Abu-Jamal case.

What else should I know?

Bochetto’s firm wrote legal briefs defending former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, which centered on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Unlike many Republican candidates, however, Bochetto has acknowledged that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.