Philly D.A. Race: Will he spend?

Republican Michael Untermeyer is the underdog in the race for Philadelphia District Attorney.  Can he win? The town is about 7 to 1 Democratic.  But, Philadelphia has elected Republicans to the D.A’s position before, though not recently, and that occasional GOP win and a possible very low turnout give Untermeyer hope.  This year it is also an open seat.  D.A. Lynne Abraham, in office since 1991, is not seeking re-election.  Candidate name recognition is lower. 

Democrat Seth Williams tells me he is concerned that too many voters might not remember that there is an election on November 3rd or that they take for granted that he will win. (He tells me that after a crowded, noisy Democratic Primary which he won, often while he’s campaigning average folks on the street or at an El stop talk to him as if he is already in office.)  Williams plans to work hard to get out the vote.  He tells me he’s raised about $750,000.  That compares to about $150,000 for Untermeyer. 

But, and here’s the big question, how much of Michael Untermeyer’s own substantial wealth might Untermeyer spend above that?   He tells me, “Whatever it takes.”  If he plans a major media blitz and GOP turnout effort and if the Democratic turnout is historically low, Seth Williams could be in trouble.  Lots of ifs in a Democratic town.  At least up until recently, Untermeyer’s ads have been on cable, which still leaves out a lot of folks.  And, a larger media blitz, if not well done, could have a double edge, reminding sleeping Democrats that there is an election.   Interesting 3 weeks ahead.

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