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Pa. Rep. Craig Williams joins GOP attorney general race

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Pa. Rep. Craig Williams joins GOP attorney general race

Nov 28, 2023 | 5:41 pm ET
By John Cole
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Pa. Rep. Craig Williams joins GOP attorney general race
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(Craig Williams campaign photo)

State Rep. Craig Williams (R-Delaware) launched his campaign for Pennsylvania Attorney General on Tuesday, immediately signaling a focus on violent crime. 

“I’m running for Attorney General because I know how to deal with violence,” Williams said in a campaign announcement video, titled “It’s A Violent World.” The video depicted scenes of violence and looting, which Williams said in the voiceover he was uniquely qualified to handle, as a former Marine and prosecutor.

Williams is the third Republican to join the 2024 race for state attorney general, along with York County District Attorney Dave Sunday and former Delaware County District Attorney Kat Copeland. Sunday is backed by the Republican Attorneys General Association and Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity, while Copeland has support from Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin.

Current Attorney General Michele Henry, who was appointed by Gov. Josh Shapiro to finish out his term when he was elected governor, is not seeking reelection in 2024. 

During Shapiro’s successful 2020 reelection bid for attorney general, he defeated Republican challenger Heather Heidelbaugh by 4.6 points, which was the largest margin of victory for the statewide row office races that year in Pennsylvania.

The Democratic Party race for Attorney General also features a crowded field with former Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, state Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia), former Bucks County solicitor and federal prosecutor Joe Khan, former Philadelphia Chief Public Defender Keir Bradford-Grey, and Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer vying for their party’s nomination. 

Williams was first elected to represent the state House’s 160th District in 2020, defeating Democrat Anton Andrew by less than 1,000 votes for the open seat. He secured a second term to represent the district that includes parts of Chester and Delaware counties in 2022 with a 5 point margin of victory over Democratic challenger Catherine Spahr. In the announcement video, Williams points to this win as proof of his electability: “in a blue state, in a blue county in a blue district, I deliver red victories.”

Williams was a manager in the impeachment case against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

It is unclear if Williams will pursue reelection for his House seat while he campaigns for the attorney general nomination. 

Should Williams not run for reelection for the 160th state House District, it could mean yet another election that may affect the balance of power in the lower chamber, where Democrats currently have a one-vote lead.

The Pennsylvania Republican Party did not endorse a candidate for attorney general at its most recent state committee meeting, making it the only statewide race where it is not formally backing a candidate in 2024. The PA GOP declared its support for Dave McCormick for U.S. Senate, Treasurer Stacy Garrity, and Auditor General Tim DeFoor.