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Dems sweep Philly elections for Philly DA and controller

Upstart, reformer candidates win races.
Larry Krasner, left, won the election for Philly DA, and Rebecca Rhynhart won the office of city controller. (Krasner by Charles Mostoller, Rhynhart courtesy of campaign)

The people have spoken. Democratic reformer candidates Larry Krasner and Rebecca Rhynhart, who emerged victorious after competitive Democratic primaries earlier this year, were voted into office on Tuesday.

Both Krasner and Rhynhart will take office in January.

With registered Democrats outstripping Republicans by a factor of roughly seven, it was not a close election and few believed that Republican contenders Beth Grossman for DA and Mike Tomlinson for controller had a snowball's chance in hell of winning either race.

But nonetheless, an election must be held and Tuesday's vote makes official the elections to office of Krasner and Rhynhart.

Krasner's campaign in particular attracted national headlines and has earned him harsh criticism at home for the career defense lawyer's commitment to left-wing criminal justice reform.

Krasner has never worked as a prosecutor, and even the Inquirer endorsed his opponent, Grossman, in the race, casting doubt on Krasner's ability to manage an office with a multimillion-dollar budget.

Krasner will take over an office deeply tainted by the humiliating legacy of disgraced ex-DA, now-felon and federal inmate Seth Williams. Williams resigned in August after pleading guilty to federal charges of abusing his office in return for, amongst other illegal perks, free haircuts, vacations and a chocolate-colored couch.

Rhynhart has pledged to bring new transparency to the controller's office, essentially the city's chief financial watchdog.

But the well-known Philadelphian she will replace — outspoken two-term Democratic Controller Alan Butkovitz — may not be out of the public eye yet. 

Rumors have been swirling that the pugilistic number-cruncher is mulling a mayoral campaign against Democrat Jim Kenney fueled by frustrations over the soda tax Kenney forced through to fund the Rebuild program for the city's aged parks, rec centers, playgrounds and libraries and universal pre-K.