Fattah and his challengers square off


    When an indicted congressman who’s running for re-election debates his challengers, you might say there’s an elephant in the room. At a debate Monday morning at WHYY, we talked about the elephant.

    Philadelphia U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah is fighting two battles these days; he’s facing a federal corruption indictment, and he has three challengers for the nomination to his congressional seat in the April 26 Democratic primary. All four candidates met in a one-hour debate before a live audience here at WHYY.

    The candidates answered questions from a panel that included our own Aaron Moselle, Cherri Gregg of KYW Newsradio, and Johann Calhoun of the Philadelphia Tribune.

    Play the audio button above,  and you can year my five-minute summary of the exchange with NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller, including a sound bite of each candidate:  Congressman Fattah; state Rep. Dwight Evans; Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon; and attorney and former president of CeaseFire PA Dan Muroff.

    But listening to the entire debate will give you a good sense of what the candidates think their strong suits are and how well they think on their feet. You’ll hear some challenging questions, and the candidates will share some thoughts about race and politics in the district, the only one in Pennsylvania represented by an African-American. Listen to the full hour below:

    The debate did not include the Republican candidate, James Jones, who is running unopposed in the primary. He attended the event, and expects to have plenty to say in the general election.


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