Race for open D.A. seat in Bucks County

BRISTOL, Pa. - October 12, 2009 Chris Asplen, a former county and federal prosecutor, pounded the pavement canvassing for votes on Columbus Day, working to build name recognition as a Democrat insurgent trying to win the Bucks County D.A.'s post.

A victory would break the Republican's longtime lock on that job.

Asplen's opponent is a more familiar name in these parts, David Heckler. He's the county's former president judge and a Republican has won plenty of elections here from the bench to state lawmaker.

"My experience is more extensive than my opponent's, considerably. I was a prosecutor here in Bucks County for six and a half years, and a federal prosecutor for four years," said Asplen. "I"m an internationally recognized expert in forensic DNA technology."

"I can't find any evidence that he's been in a courtroom since he left Bucks County in the mid-90s. ... last 11 years," said Heckler. "I tried more cases, I'm sure, than he did when I was an ADA back when. I've tried better than 250 jury trials and thousands of cases in the last 11 years."

Both also outlined their crime-fighting policies.

"You're talking about gang encroachment, of major criminal activity that is, a little bit of it, home-grown, but a lot of it is coming across the borders," said Heckler.

"We've got gangs coming in from the northern part of the county, from Trenton and Philadelphia. DUI is also a problem, but one problem I focused on that my opponent has chosen to say is not worth pursuing is the problem of texting and driving," said Asplen.

With no incumbent in this race, a wild card could well be a factor in what is traditionally a low turnout race.

Democrats now hold a slight registration advantage in Bucks County.

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