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Solomon ad jabs at DePasquale in final days of Pa. attorney general campaign


Solomon ad jabs at DePasquale in final days of Pa. attorney general campaign

Apr 19, 2024 | 6:22 pm ET
By John Cole
Solomon ad jabs at DePasquale in final days of Pa. attorney general campaign
Eugene DePasquale (l) and Jared Solomon (Capital-Star composite)

Throughout the campaign for the Democratic Party nomination for Pennsylvania attorney general, the five candidates have often avoided taking direct shots at each other. With the April 23 primary election just a few days away, State Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) has released a 15 second ad sharply criticizing former Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale over previous votes he made on guns and elections. The ad casts Solomon and DePasquale as the frontrunners in the race.

“Democrats, for AG, it’s down to two,” a voiceover says at the beginning of the ad, while the words “Poll: DePasquale, Solomon lead in AG Race” are displayed at the top of the screen.

The Solomon campaign told the Capital-Star that the poll referenced in the ad was an internal poll by Data for Progress conducted from April 9-11, surveying 474 likely Democratic primary voters. That internal poll showed DePasquale in first place in the crowded primary and Solomon in 2nd place, according to the Solomon campaign.

The Capital-Star asked to review the poll independently, but the campaign declined to make the results available, instead sharing an image of what they said was the poll’s first page.

There has not been widespread public polling in the race. 

The ad cites two votes by DePasquale claiming he “voted with Republicans on guns and elections.” The two votes referenced in the ad are from 2011, when DePasquale was a state Representative in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. 

The first vote was House Bill 40, sponsored by then-state GOP Rep. Scott Perry, passed the House by a 164-37 vote on April 12 and was signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett later that year. The Associated Press reported that the bill broadened the right to use deadly force in self-defense. 

Republicans were united in supporting this legislation, while Democrats were divided, although a majority of Democrats also voted in favor of the bill. Then-state Reps. Brendan Boyle, Matt Bradford, and Josh Shapiro also voted for this legislation, while Dwight Evans, Dan Frankel, and Cherelle Parker voted against the bill. 

The ad also claims Solomon has “a lifetime F from the NRA” and refers to him as “a champion for voting rights.”  

DePasquale’s campaign responded by pointing out that DePasquale had an “F” rating from the NRA during both of his previous bids for statewide office in 2016 and 2020. In this race, according to the DePasquale campaign, he has a “?” rating because he refused to fill out the questionnaire. 

“Our opponent’s ad is intentionally misleading and misrepresenting Eugene’s position on firearms,” DePasquale’s campaign said to the Capital-Star. “We believe our opponents see us at the front runner and are trying to make a wedge issue where there is not one. Eugene has always been a supporter of stronger gun safety laws and regulations, his voting record shows this.”

The DePasquale campaign added that he supports a ban on civilian access to military-style weapons, universal background checks and red flag laws, cracking down on gun violence and ghost guns, and emphasizing mental health as a priority in addressing gun deaths by suicide. 

The second bill referenced in the ad was a vote to pass the GOP-drawn map of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts in 2011. A significant majority of Republicans voted in favor of this legislation that passed the state House by a 136-61 vote, while a majority of Democrats voted against it.

The DePasquale campaign did not directly respond to this vote in a request for comment, but he told NBC10 in 2014 that he voted for it because it made the congressional district in south-central Pennsylvania more competitive for Democrats.

Former Philadelphia Chief Public Defender Keir Bradford-Grey, former Bucks County Solicitor Joe Khan, and Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer are also vying for the Democratic Party nomination for attorney general.