Election 2017

Major increase in Philly voter turnout propels Larry Krasner to victory

It’s a huge bump over what Philly has seen in recent DA races.

Larry Krasner announces his campaign for district attorney

Larry Krasner announces his campaign for district attorney

Screenshot via YouTube

In the first Philadelphia election post-Trump, interest was higher in the usually low-key District Attorney’s race than it has been in the last 15 years.

Larry Krasner rode the progressive wave to a victory and in doing so he helped bring out nearly 50 percent more voters than usual. With about 98 percent of districts reporting late last night, more than 152,000 votes had been cast in yesterday’s District Attorney primary. That’s still a paltry 18 percent turnout for Democrats but far more than what had been seen in recent District Attorney races (13 percent in the 2009 DA primary) and comparable to the 2014 gubernatorial primary where turnout was about 20 percent.

In some areas of the city, such as West Philadelphia, turnout surpassed 50 percent. Those numbers are usually what you’d see in a much bigger races.

Here’s how Krasner’s victory compared to the District Attorney primaries in 2009 and 2005, the last two competitive races:


  • Lynne Abraham: 61,067
  • Seth Williams: 48,389
  • Total Votes: 109,456


  • Seth Williams: 43,672
  • Dan McCaffery: 31,590
  • Daniel McElhatton: 15,327
  • Michael L. Turner: 9,234
  • Brian Grady: 4,766
  • Total votes: 104,589


  • Larry Krasner: 58,165
  • Joe Khan: 30,994
  • Rich Negrin: 21,708
  • Tariq El-Shabazz: 17,701
  • Michael Untermeyer: 12,435
  • Jack O’Neill: 9,070
  • Teresa Carr Deni: 2,229
  • Total votes: 152,316

*98.34 percent reporting

In 2014, about 165,000 votes were cast in Philadelphia for the Democratic primary for governor. This District Attorney’s race was in striking distance of that total. In 2015, about 230,000 were cast in the Mayor’s race.

There’s been much talk of a Trump resistance fueling progressive candidates to victory with higher turnout numbers. Philly’s District Attorney race didn’t set any records for votes, and it could be argued turnout still wasn’t even adequate. But for a municipal race the vote totals were a major improvement.

City Commissioner Al Schmidt released a graphic showing voter turnout in Philadelphia was the highest it’s been in a DA’s race since 2001:

Want some more? Explore other Election 2017 stories.

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