Newly released annual campaign finance disclosures show incumbent Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams trailing his competitors in fundraising by sizable margins.
According to the yearly filings, Williams raised $130,095 last year, less some $55,000 in expenses. His cash on hand is around one-third that of opponents Michael Untermeyer and Joe Khan, who had $273,000 and $210,000, respectively.
Khan’s campaign released a statement that asserted the former federal prosecutor, who entered the race in September, had “dominated in the first public barometer of the campaign to oust scandal-ridden Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams.” The statement also points out that Khan raised the most money from outside sources.
Untermeyer, who announced his candidacy earlier this month and had previously run against Williams as a Republican, has largely self-fundraised through a $300,000 in donations to his own campaign – triggering a so-called “millionaire’s provision” that has doubled contribution limits in the race.
His campaign claimed that since the end of 2016 he had raised another $100,000 and continued to self-fund – to the tune of an additional $250,000 since the beginning of the year. The campaign asserted that Untermeyer had some $575,000 on hand, after expenses.
“This strong fundraising start guarantees that every voter will have an opportunity to hear my ideas on reforming the criminal justice system,” Untermeyer said, in a prepared statement.
Rich Negrin, a partner with the law firm of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel and a former city managing director, had been pegged by some political observers as a strong candidate on the basis of his ties to wealthy donors in the city’s legal community. His initial statement showed he had amassed $130,000 since he entered the race last month.
"We did it without taking any conflict money from defense attorneys who do most of their work on the opposite side of the district attorney's office. That's an obvious conflict of interest, which, apparently, only Rich Negrin has the moral clarity to see," wrote campaign spokesperson Mark Nevins, in an email.
Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni, who joined the race in December, raised less than $10,000 atop a $35,000 donation to her own campaign.
"We are confident that this additional contribution to her campaign will place her on equal footing with all the other candidates in the race," said spokesperson Tommie St. Hill, of Deni's self-donation. "Moreover, she has exceeded all of her fundraising goals for the month of January."
Sources had previously questioned Williams’ ability to raise money amid ethics scandals and a grand jury probe into the Second Chance Foundation, a charity Williams founded. Williams’ campaign declined to release a statement. Sources close to the DA pointed out that his fundraising totals were similar to his original 2009 election effort and that he still enjoyed a strategic advantage due to the crowded field.
Republican Beth Grossman, who announced her candidacy earlier this month and will face off against the Democratic primary victor in November, raised $4,700.