BY DAVE DAVIES – WHYY NEWSWORKS
Civil rights attorney Larry Krasner has picked up two more endorsements in his campaign to replace the indicted Seth Williams as Philadelphia's next district attorney. Add that to the $1.4 million independent advertising and field campaign showered on him by billionaire George Soros — and Krasner is looking more like the one to beat in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Krasner got the backing of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity and state Sen. Vincent Hughes of West Philadelphia Thursday.
Those two endorsements, following the support he's received from influential Northwest Philadelphia Democrats two weeks ago, make it easy to overlook the nod he got Wednesday from a construction union, the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters.
Hughes said he looked the seven candidate field over and made his pick.
"It's not a knock on anyone else," Hughes said. "Thirty years of fighting for civil rights cannot be ignored. You can't just kick that to the curb."
Hughes, who also said he expects Krasner to fight for fair education funding, is known for running a field operation in West Philadelphia, which should help Krasner.
Krasner wasn't crowing, but he admitted he's feeling good.
"I'm not a professional politician. I've never run for office before," he said. "But I am surrounded by people who are incredibly skilled, and they feel there is a palpable momentum."
... But there's another factor in the contest: The 69 Democratic ward leaders, whose committee people can affect enough votes to matter in a low-turnout election like this.
Ward leaders don't always announce their plans, but Philadelphia Weekly reporter Max Marin made more than 200 calls trying to figure out who's for whom. He said a lot of candidates have some ward leaders supporting them.
"There's no front-runner," Marin said. "If you look at the ward map, yes, some people have an edge of one or two wards, according to my calculation. But it's all very close and very much in flux."
Marin said several candidates have support in 10 or more wards, but no one has anything close to majority, lending an element of unpredictability to the race.