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Democratic Philadelphia state lawmaker joins race for Pennsylvania attorney general

Digital Brief: Sept. 17, 2023 (AM)
Digital Brief: Sept. 17, 2023 (AM) 02:46

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Democratic state lawmaker Jared Solomon said Tuesday that he will run in next year's election for Pennsylvania attorney general, an office that has played a big role in fighting drug trafficking, suing opioid makers and defending the battleground state's 2020 presidential election.

Solomon, who is from Philadelphia, is the fourth Democratic candidate to join the race for the state's top law enforcement office, which will be vacant after the 2024 election.

Solomon said he would be an attorney general who can draw on his experience running a neighborhood-improvement group, practicing anti-trust law and going against political machines.

"This is taking it to a larger level and projecting that vision and experience and work ethic and fight for the whole commonwealth," Solomon said in an interview.

Solomon, 44, was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2016 after beating out a 42-year Democratic incumbent. He previously joined the Army, became a defense lawyer in the Pennsylvania National Guard and worked as a lawyer in private practice.

In the state House this year, he supported major legislation brought up by Democratic leadership, including a measure to raise the state minimum wage to $15 by 2026, broaden protections for LGBTQ+ people and let authorities temporarily seize someone's firearms in an effort to prevent suicide deaths, domestic violence and day-to-day violence.

Before that, he became the House Democrats' appointee in a Republican effort to impeach Philadelphia's twice-elected district attorney, Larry Krasner. Solomon called the GOP impeachment bid an "anti-democratic move to deny the votes of thousands of Philadelphians."

Three other Democrats — former state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, former federal prosecutor Joe Kahn and Keir Bradford-Grey, the former head of Philadelphia's public defense lawyers — already announced their candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

York County District Attorney Dave Sunday announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination.

The attorney general's office has a budget of about $120 million annually and has played a critical role in arresting drug traffickers, fighting gun trafficking, defending state laws in court and protecting consumers from predatory practices.

The office helped lead state attorneys general in settlement talks with pharmaceutical distributors and manufacturers over the opioid crisis. It also played a central role in defending the integrity of Pennsylvania's 2020 presidential election against repeated attempts to overturn it in state and federal courts by former President Donald Trump's campaign and Republican allies.

Democrats have won the last three elections for attorney general.

The last elected attorney general was Democrat Josh Shapiro, who was elected last year to be governor. Shapiro stepped down as attorney general in January when he was sworn in as governor and appointed his top deputy, Michelle Henry, to finish the last two years of his term as attorney general.

Henry, a former Bucks County prosecutor, has said she does not plan to run for the office. Her term expires in January 2025.

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