With the Democratic registration advantage in Philadelphia, the influx of huge amounts of outside funds, and the advantage of the incumbent, can Chuck Peruto defeat District Attorney Larry Krasner in the upcoming election?
This is a question on the minds of many people who are concerned about Philadelphia’s rising murder rate and increasing gun violence. Many city residents believe that Krasner, a former civil rights attorney who sued the Philadelphia Police Department 75 times on behalf of radical anti-cop groups, is more an advocate for criminals than for crime victims and police officers.
Those opposed to Krasner had hoped that former homicide prosecutor Carlos Vega would defeat him in the Democratic primary, but a low voter turnout ensured a Krasner victory.
I reached out to State Rep. and Philly GOP Chair Martina White and asked her if she thought Chuck Peruto could defeat Larry Krasner in the general election.
“I think that Chuck can win,” White replied. “But it is going to take all of the people who didn’t show up in the primary to turn out on Nov 2. In the primary, you are only dealing with the Democrats and Carlos Vega’s supporters didn’t turn out in high numbers. In the general election, you have Republicans, Independents and Democrats, and I think that Chuck definitely has an opportunity to show what he is made of and to show that because we have so much crime in the city we need to have a district attorney that is willing to hold these criminals accountable, and also be willing to talk about the issues the minority community is facing.”
The 33-year-old state legislator and lifelong resident of Northeast Philadelphia was first elected in 2015 in a special election to fill an open seat in the 170th District, which covers the neighborhoods of Bustleton, Millbrook, Parkwood and Somerton. White became the first new Republican elected in Philadelphia in 25 years. She was elected to her third full term in 2020.
According to her website, her most notable bills in Harrisburg would create a sustainable funding source to help our schools without increasing the burden on taxpayers; protect our police officers and their families; and to make sanctuary cities liable for damages committed by illegal immigrants who commit crimes against citizens. A member of the majority House leadership, she is the Secretary of the House Republican Caucus and currently serves on the Rules Committee.
White attended Catholic grade and high school and graduated from Elizabethtown College with a degree in business administration. She worked as a financial advisor for families and small business owners until she was approached to run for public office.
I asked her if the Republican Party can match the kind of money that is coming in for Krasner.
“One thing about Republicans, we’re fiscally responsible and effective in the way we spend our money and taxpayer dollars,” White said. “Over these past election cycles, Republicans, even in the state rep. seats, were outspent five to one. Multi-millions of dollars were spent against these members across the state, especially in the Southeast region. And still, because Republicans have the better messaging and the better-quality candidates, we make sure that we’re effective in the way that we operate in our elections and our campaigns. While we don’t have as much money as our opponents, we have the ability to be effective in our campaigns and to win.”
White said she believes that on Nov. 2 people will turn out and support Peruto because of the effects of what Krasner and the progressive agenda have done to Philadelphia. She noted that Philadelphia is one of the highest in the nation for homicides and violent crimes.
“Larry Krasner has blamed a few different things over the past several months for why gun crimes are increasing. The first one is poverty, then he blamed it on the pandemic. Then he blamed it on the city because they weren’t spending enough money on all the ancillary programs to support the community, and then he decided to blame the Republican State Legislature,” White said. “The gun laws in Pennsylvania have been in place for an extensive period of time, but Krasner is not enforcing those gun laws. The result is increased gun crime and a culture of criminal activity that goes unchecked.”
White said that Peruto has 40 years of experience as an attorney specializing in criminal law. She added that Peruto also has common sense and a personality.
“We are happily supporting his campaign, and you’ll see our ward leaders and committee people out in the community and advocating for him up until election day.”
Paul Davis’ Crime Beat column appears here each week. You can contact him via pauldavisoncrime.com.