The Office of the Philadelphia District Attorney, the pay-to-play that’s believed to have went on inside there and why the once beloved man who was sworn to lead it is now said to have betrayed his oath, is a conversation point for many of the City’s 1.5 million residents after a grand jury on Monday returned a 23-count federal indictment against Mr. Seth Williams, first elected as the top lawman here in 2010 by less than roughly 10 percent of the total population, alleging he stood ready to perform official actions as favors in return for gifts.
Because of how much attention is now being paid to both Mr. Williams and the office he still holds despite being indicted on corruption, it’s safe to assume that the roster of candidates seeking to succeed him in 2018 will also feel the glory, and even the heat, of the spotlight.
Going into this 2017 Democratic primary, where a mass of contenders have assembled, there was a concern that, like the non-mayoral and non-presidential races that came before it, the contest would be low-profile and attract a slither of the total population. But part of that concern appears to be quelled by the amount of local and national media attention paid to the District Attorney’s Office via Mr. Williams’ indictment and forthcoming court proceedings.
Not every candidate, however, will benefit equally from the spotlight. In fact, it’s reasonable to suspect that the news media, and even political observers, will attempt to paint Mr. Tariq El-Shabazz, who recently resigned from the DA’s office where he served under Mr. Williams as his 1st Deputy to purse the top spot, as a clone of sorts to the fallen hero. While no evidence has been presented to warrant such comparisons, Mr. El-Shabazz, who has been hounded by reporters due to his own financial controversy involving taxes and liens, is perceived by some voters as guilty by association and a man who was too close to Mr. Williams, who decided not to seek re-election, not to know something there was foul.
The candidate likely to receive the lion’s share of favorable earned media in the wake of Mr. Williams’ troubles is celebrated civil-rights attorney Mr. Larry Krasner, an outspoken critic of the DA’s office and the only one who, after the indictment was announced on Monday afternoon, called for the disgraced politician to resign for the sake of the office, echoing the sentiment of the Mayor of Philadelphia and many outraged voters. Mr. Krasner, maybe the only candidate never to be employed by the DA’s office, identifies as a progressive and has been compared to Senator Bernie Sanders – who Wednesday on Philly.com was declared “America’s most popular politician” – due to his populist-like message.
Political races, though, aren’t won by media mentions or endorsements. The goal for every candidate is to turn out the vote in their favor. And only time will tell whether the increase in eyeballs will translate to more voters at the polls, but, almost certainly, candidates have a larger audience today than when the race began, and they have only Mr. Williams, and his alleged malfeasance, to thank for it.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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Photo courtesy of the author.