Another challenger hopes to wrest congressional seat from FattahListen
A Mt. Airy lawyer will officially launch his campaign Wednesday night against indicted Philadelphia U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah.
Dan Muroff, 48, has never run for political office, but he does know his way around Capitol Hill. He spent nearly a decade there working for politicians, including Massachusetts Congressmen Jim McGovern and Michael Capuano.
“It’s someplace where I would hit the ground running,” said Muroff. “I know exactly how to get things done.”
Muroff has also served as president of CeaseFire Pennsylvania, a gun violence-prevention organization, and Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania.
He said he’s getting into the race in the 2nd Congressional District because he thinks he can do a lot of good as a lawmaker and the “right opportunity” cropped up.
“I expected that voters might be looking for alternative,” said Muroff.
In late July, federal prosecutors hit Fattah and four associates with a 29-count indictment that includes charges of racketeering, conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud.
In the alleged scheme at the heart of the case, Fattah is accused of using a pair of nonprofits he founded to help repay part of an illegal $1 million loan made to assist his unsuccessful 2007 Philadelphia mayoral campaign.
Fattah maintains his innocence. His trial is scheduled for six days after the Democratic primary. Because of the district’s makeup, the race will effectively crown the district’s next leader.
If elected, Muroff said he would spend considerable time trying the halt gun violence. It’s an issue he thinks will resonate with voters, many of whom live in crime-ridden communities.
“We need to raise the level of attention amongst progressive-minded people that gun violence needs serious, dedicated, committed attention to pass some reasonable legislation,” said Muroff.
A crowded field
State Reps. Dwight Evans and Brian Sims, as well as Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon also plan to enter the race. It will be the first time Fattah has faced any challengers in the Democratic primary since 1994, the year he first ran for Congress.
Muroff has far less name recognition than most of the group, but he said fundraising should help level the playing field a bit. After raising nearly $300,000 during the last four months of 2015, Muroff said he currently has roughly $200,000 on hand, reportedly in the realm of what Evans and Sims have.
“That will help me to get my name out there and to bring attention to those concerns that I think are priorities for this district,” said Muroff.
Fattah had a little over $2,000 on hand as of Sept. 30, the last filing.
A competitive congressional race can require up to $3 million.
The picture will become a little clearer at the end of this week, the deadline for candidates to file campaign finance reports.
The field of candidates won’t be solidified until Feb. 16, the deadline for hopefuls to turn in their nominating petitions.
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