Philly DA candidates ask for your vote

November 3, 2009 4:58:44 PM PST
The hottest race in Philadelphia is for District Attorney.

Longtime D.A. Lynne Abraham is not running again, so it's a battle between Democrat Seth Williams, her nemesis, and Republican Michael Untemeyer.

Democratic nominee Seth Williams is the betting favorite to win the D.A.'s race, but he campaigned at the Reading Terminal on Monday, accompanied by party bigwig Senator Robert Casey.

The political pros always proceed as if the race is tight.

"We take no election for granted, we work to the very last minute," said Sen. Casey.

Williams is young, aggressive and ambitious. With an 8 to 1 registration advantage, the party establishment wants him to win tomorrow.

But, not too big.

A young lion like Williams makes veteran leaders nervous. Sources say they'll be trying to hold down his numbers tomorrow so he doesn't get too powerful, too fast.

"The history of politics in America isn't always about justice or doing the right thing. I look forward to working with everybody when I take office in January," said Williams.

Republican nominee Michael Untermeyer was working the phones on Monday. Last winter he left the Democratic Party roles and registered Republican, not wanting to stand in line for a shot as a Democrat.

"I converted when this opportunity came to run for this office which, I believe, is a non-partisan office," said Untermeyer.

Both candidates for Philadelphia D.A. are for tougher gun laws. Handgun violence, they say, is the scourge of the city.

"I think there should be a mandatory minimum statute for carrying a concealed weapon, like they do in New York, where the homicide rate has gone down significantly," said Untermeyer.

"We hve to do all we can to get the guns off the street and that's why I'll create partnerships at the federal level, the local level and the state level," said Williams.

When turnout's been abnormally low in the D.A.'s race, Republicans have occassionally pulled of an upset. However, the last time was 20 years ago. It has generally been a cakewalk for the Democratic nominee for nearly a half century."

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