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Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images
DA Larry Krasner has survived the last year to win re-election. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Krasner keeps Philly’s progressive wave, but Dems still lose most of their judicial races

The DA’s race was arguably a given, but losses on the courts could spell a murky future on issues like voting rights, redistricting and more.

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In the race for Philadelphia District Attorney, Larry Krasner has been re-elected for a second term. When he took the stage to declare his victory, he had a lead of more than 50,000 votes. Krasner said that is “more than enough proof” that the city is in favor of his progressive agenda.

He also said that his win was possible thanks to his approach to criminal justice reform.

“It’s a movement that has been led by Black and Brown and broke people, and progressives,” Krasner said.

He says his next term will be about expanding this agenda, concentrating on the most serious crimes and criminal justice reform. 

His Republican opponent, Chuck Peruto, admitted to not speaking to enough constituents on the campaign trail. 

"Obviously, the majority of the citizens approve of what he's doing. I spoke to many people that were telling me they don't approve, but obviously, I didn't speak to enough people, and man I thought I spoke plenty," Peruto told 6ABC

By defeating Peruto, Krasner secured his position as a national leader among a newer breed of progressive prosecutors who critique mass incarceration and promote alternatives to harsher criminal justice measures. 

During his first term, Krasner stopped seeking cash bail for some misdemeanor and nonviolent felony cases and stepped up prosecution of police officers. 

But Krasner’s victory was one of the few for Democrats on a night that saw Republicans win most of the key judicial elections in the region.

Republican Kevin Brobson beat Democrat Maria McLaughlin, winning a spot on Pennsylvania’s highest court, ending a combative race marked by negative ads and big campaign spending. 

Brobson, 50, a judge for more than 10- years on the lower statewide Commonwealth Court, will replace Republican Justice Thomas Saylor, who hit the mandatory retirement age of 75. 

Republicans also won in the race for a spot on PA’s Superior Court, as Megan Sullivan defeated Timika Lane. In the race for Commonwealth Court, Stacy Wallace appeared to come out on top over Democratic competitors Lori Dumas and David Spurgeon, but Dumas still beat out the second Republican challenger, Drew Crompton, for her own spot on the court. 

With Brobson’s victory on the Supreme Court, Republicans will keep one of their two seats on the seven-member court with another election looming, as Chief Justice Max Baer will turn 75 at the end of next year and face mandatory retirement. 

The new court will be closely observed. Within the next year, it will likely consider controversial cases surrounding elections, redistricting and reproductive rights. 

In the next few months, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court will decide a case challenging the state’s ban on abortion coverage through the Medical Assistance program. 

The justices will likely be asked to weigh in on a controversial review being undertaken by the state Senate of the 2020 presidential election, as well as a major education lawsuit over equitable funding for low-income school districts. 

Pennsylvania’s appellate judges are elected in statewide contests, but that could shift in the future. Some Republican lawmakers are proposing the creation of regional districts for these judges, a change that would require the approval of voters. The earliest such a question could appear on the ballot is 2023.

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