Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro has won the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania Attorney General. He faced Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala and Northampton District Attorney John Morganelli in yesterday's April primary election.
Editor Charlie Deitch has a breakdown of the numbers here
“I’m honored to have earned the support of voters from every corner of our Commonwealth and to be the Democratic nominee for Attorney General," Shapiro said in a statement last night. "Throughout this campaign, I’ve pledged to reform our system, take on the status quo and fight for our values. Too many people today feel the deck is stacked against them and they can’t get a fair shake. Pennsylvanians want an Attorney General who will restore fairness, clean up a mess and do more to protect the safety, the health and the rights of everyone in our Commonwealth. That’s the kind of Attorney General I’ll be. I promise today that I will lead with integrity and stand up to the powerful interests to fight for you.”
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Shapiro received 47 percent of the vote to Zappala's 36 percent and Morganelli's 16 percent.
"Josh Shapiro ran a campaign focused on issues like tackling the opioid crisis, protecting seniors from scammers and safeguarding Pennsylvania's environment," said Sen. Bob Casey who endorsed Shapiro. "He's a person of integrity who has fought for reform at every level of government he has served in. Josh Shapiro is going to be our state's next Attorney General and will work tirelessly to keep our communities safe and ensure justice is administered fairly. I want to congratulate Stephen Zappala and John Morganelli on their hard fought campaigns. It’s critical that Democrats come together to win in November."
A few hours before most news outlets called the election, supporters at Zappala's campaign party at the IBEW were hopeful their candidate would win the election.
"I started in the DA's office, and I can say he ran his office with integrity," said Allegheny County Public Defender Elliot Howsie. "As an administrator I can say decisions look easier from a distance. I don't always agree with Stephen Zappala, but I'm not supposed to — we sit on opposite ends of the table. His heart's in the right place."
"It's critical that the Attorney General understand the inner workings of the criminal justice system, the makeup of the community and the things that push people to become criminals," said Ed Eichenlaub, a Democrat running for the 37th District state House seat. "You need someone who has a long understanding of those elements, and I think Stephen Zappala has the whole package."
But at approximately 10:35 p.m., after a little more than 50 percent of the vote was counted and Zappala found himself 6 points behind, he came to the main ballroom to address his supporters.
"We're not going to win this race," said Zappala. "We have too much ground to make up."
Zappala said one of the most interesting things about the race was that his son Michael had the option of voting for his father for the first time. He also thanked his campaign team and the crowd of about 100 who came to the party.
"I hate to ask anybody for anything and I really didn't have to ask anyone to help us, they were just there," said Zappala. "The biggest disappointment was to make you guys wait to hear me speak, and I really do thank you for coming out tonight."