This article is shared with LebTown by content partner Spotlight PA.

By Stephen Caruso, Kate Huangpu, and Katie Meyer of Spotlight PA

HARRISBURG — In wide-open primary races for Pennsylvania attorney general, campaign finance reports show the Republican establishment is largely rallying around one candidate while donors are still spreading their cash out among the five Democratic hopefuls.

Democratic and Republican voters will select their parties’ candidates in the April 23 primary. Because Pennsylvania has closed primaries, voters who are independent or registered to third parties cannot participate, though they can vote in the Nov. 5 general election.

The five Democrats running for their party’s nod are former Philadelphia chief public defender Keir Bradford-Grey, former state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, former Bucks County Solicitor Joe Kahn, state Rep. Jared Solomon of Philadelphia, and Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.

All have espoused similar goals on the campaign trail, including support for tougher gun laws and plans to defend abortion rights. None met the two-thirds threshold needed to be endorsed by the state Democratic Party.

The two Republicans, York County District Attorney Dave Sunday and state Rep. Craig Williams of Delaware County, are running tough-on-crime campaigns. Sunday received the state GOP’s endorsement.

The top prosecutor’s job is often seen as a springboard to higher office. Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro was attorney general, as was former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. The donor names in the current candidates’ campaign finance reports reflect the prestige of the role.

On the Republican side, Sunday has received the lion’s share of institutional support. He raised $162,000 between Jan. 1 and March 4, according to the first campaign finance reports of the year; that’s on top of the roughly $50,000 he brought in last year.

His campaign donors are a who’s who of Pennsylvania Republican politics.

They include state Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward of Westmoreland County; York County’s Scott Wagner, a former state senator and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate; Jeff Bartos, a Montgomery County developer who was Wagner’s running mate; Pat Deon, chair of the Bucks County GOP; Dave White, a construction contractor who unsuccessfully sought the GOP gubernatorial nod in 2022; and a PAC associated with Republican power player Bob Asher.

Sunday also received $25,000 from Commonwealth Leaders Fund, a PAC funded almost entirely by billionaire Jeff Yass, a key power broker in Pennsylvania Republican politics (and lately, a key opponent to a federal effort to ban TikTok, in which Yass is a major investor).

Another $25,000 came from the PAC representing skill games manufacturers and owners, and $10,000 last year came from Scott Hartman, CEO of the York-based gas station chain Rutter’s.

Williams raised $113,000 this cycle and $45,000 in 2023.

Many of his biggest donations have come from wealthy donors based in southeast Pennsylvania, including $30,000 from Vince Hartnett, the former president of Penske Logistics. Hartnett previously served on the board of the Keystone Free Enterprise Fund, a Chester County-based PAC that donated $5,000 to the campaign and loaned it $8,000 more.

Other big loans came from Williams’ wife, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Jennifer Arbittier Williams, and Texas-based political strategist Mark Campbell, who managed Glenn Youngkin’s successful campaign for Virginia governor. In a February interview with PCN, Williams said he had hired Campbell to “get the campaign off the ground.”

The campaign owes both of them $20,000.

The five Democrats’ campaign finance reports, by contrast, show much less support from party leaders and wealthy donors. In fact, some of the usual Democratic money players didn’t back any candidate. That includes the state PACs for Planned Parenthood, public sector union AFSCME, the service and health care workers union SEIU, and the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union.

Solomon raised nearly $1 million in 2023 and another $170,000 in the latest cycle.

He is running for reelection as a state representative, and the money people donate to that campaign goes into the same account he’s using for his attorney general run. Still, of the nearly $1 million he raised in 2023, $647,000 came in after Solomon announced he was running for attorney general in September.

John Middleton, the former tobacco magnate turned owner of the Philadelphia Phillies, donated $150,000 of that total.

During the first cycle of this year, his biggest contributions came from wealthy individual donors like former Firstrust Bank CEO Richard Green, who gave Solomon $15,000.

Otherwise, he received much of his campaign cash from dozens of Philadelphia-based attorneys. He’s also received checks from a handful of political committees this year, including $5,000 from Constellation Energy, $3,000 from Pittsburgh’s firefighters union, and $2,500 from the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania.

Stollsteimer raised nearly $410,000 in 2023, though the vast majority of that total — $310,000 — was transferred from his county campaign account.

He raised nearly $233,000 this cycle, primarily from PACs associated with building trade unions. That includes $50,000 from the carpenters union, $25,000 from the Philadelphia laborers union, $10,000 from the plumbers, and $5,000 each from electricians, bricklayers, painters, and steamfitters.

Other donations came from a more eclectic mix of supporters, including prominent Delaware County figures like former Board of Elections Chair Gerald Lawrence — who had been Shapiro’s pick to run the state Democratic Party — and two noteworthy Republican attorneys.

Stollsteimer took $5,000 from Bruce Castor, the former GOP Montgomery County district attorney and commissioner who also represented former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial. Stollsteimer also received $1,000 from George Bochetto, who ran for U.S. Senate in 2022 and has represented plaintiffs attempting to protect a Philadelphia statue of Christopher Columbus.

Khan raised more than $500,000 in 2023, $33,000 of which came from himself and at least another $50,000 of which appears to have been donated by relatives.

He raised $109,000 during the first cycle of the year. His biggest donor is Richard Schiffrin, a retired Wynnewood securities attorney who gave his campaign $27,500 in two separate checks. That’s on top of $11,000 in donations from Schiffrin last year.

Khan also received $5,000 from Stephen Cozen, chair of Philadelphia-based law firm and lobby shop Cozen O’Connor. Green, the Firstrust Bank CEO who donated to Solomon, gave to Khan as well, in the form of two $2,500 donations.

DePasquale raised just over $69,000 during the first few months of 2024, on top of the more than $320,000 he raised last year.

He received a handful of large checks, including $5,000 from Cambria County hospice owner John Rezk, $3,000 from the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, and $2,000 from John Hanger, a top staffer to former Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

Bradford-Grey raised the least this cycle, taking in just over $50,000 on top of $379,000 raised last year. Most of those dollars came from donors giving $1,000 or less.

Her top donor so far this year is Ken Curry, who co-owns a chain of Philadelphia early childhood education centers and gave her a $3,100 check in January. Other donations were smaller, but a few notable names were among them. That includes Garnett Littlepage, who gained some notoriety in the early 2000s for running a company that employed formerly incarcerated people but didn’t pay them the prevailing wage. He still runs a security company that contracts with the city and gave Bradford-Grey $1,000.

Almost as important as how much the candidates have raised is how much money they have left to spend on advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts going into the final weeks of the election.

Solomon had the most on hand in the Democratic race, with a little over $1 million in the bank with less than five weeks until the primary. Stollsteimer had a little over $600,000, and Khan had the third-highest remaining balance, with $342,000.

On the GOP side, Sunday is left with nearly $180,000, while Williams has just under $114,000.

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