Delaware County’s top prosecutor becomes fifth Democrat to run for Pennsylvania attorney general

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Jack Stollsteimer, the top prosecutor in populous Delaware County, will run for Pennsylvania attorney general in 2024, he announced Monday, seeking an office that played a crucial role in the court’s defense of the victory of Joe Biden in 2020 on the presidential battlefield.

Stollsteimer joins a Democratic primary field that is already four deep and in which he will be the only elected prosecutor. However, his fight for the Democratic nomination includes veterans of the campaign trail and the courtroom.

In his campaign for attorney general, Stollsteimer will rely heavily on his experience as the twice-elected district attorney of Delaware County, Pennsylvania’s fifth most populous county, located between Philadelphia and Delaware.

“I am uniquely qualified because I do that work every day in the fifth largest county in Pennsylvania,” Stollsteimer said in an interview.

Stollsteimer, 60, has been a federal prosecutor in Philadelphia, a top official in the state Treasury Department, the state-appointed security attorney for Philadelphia’s schools and, before college, a senior aide to state House Democrats. A native of Philadelphia, Stollsteimer received his law degree from Temple University.

The attorney general’s office, the state’s top law enforcement agency, has a budget of approximately $140 million annually and plays a prominent role in arresting drug traffickers, combating gun trafficking, defending state laws in court and protecting consumers from predatory practices.

The office also defended the integrity of Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election against repeated attempts to overturn it in state and federal courts by Donald Trump’s campaign and Republican allies.

Perhaps Stollsteimer’s most touted achievement is combating gun violence in the impoverished city of Chester, using a partnership based on a model used successfully elsewhere to connect offenders or known criminals with job training, school or community building programs.

His office says gun homicides have dropped 68% since 2020 and there have been 65% fewer shootings.

As Philadelphia’s state-designated safe schools advocated, Stollsteimer clashed with district officials and the Department of Education over what he described as an unwillingness to report violent incidents.

“Things have gotten worse, not better,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2011. “You can’t address the problem unless you’re honest about it, and the district isn’t being honest about it.”

Stollsteimer briefly campaigned for attorney general in 2015, but dropped out before the primaries.

In 2019, he won his race for district attorney, becoming the first Democrat to hold the office in Delaware County, once a Republican bastion that Democrats now control. Stollsteimer won re-election earlier this month by 22 percentage points, thanks to support from the construction and police unions.

Stollsteimer had four busy years in office. In perhaps the most high-profile case, his office prosecuted three police officers for responding to a shooting outside a high school football game by opening fire on a car, killing an 8-year-old girl, Fanta Bility, and wounding two others hit.

Stollsteimer is now the fifth Democrat to announce his candidacy, following state Rep. Jared Solomon of Philadelphia, former state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, former federal prosecutor Joe Kahn and Keir Bradford-Gray, the former head of the public defender’s offices of Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

On the Republican side, York County District Attorney Dave Sunday and former federal prosecutor Katayoun Copeland have announced their candidacies.

Candidates must file paperwork by February 13 to appear in the April 23 primary.

Attorney General Michelle Henry has no plans to run to retain office.


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