Republican ex-federal prosecutor in Philadelphia to run for PA attorney general

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Former federal prosecutor Katayoun “Kat” Copeland will run for attorney general of Pennsylvania in 2024, she said last week.

Copeland, a Republican, recently left her job in the U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia ahead of announcing her candidacy for attorney general, the state’s top law enforcement official.

The office has an annual budget of about $140 million and plays a prominent role in arresting drug traffickers, fighting gun trafficking, defending state laws in court and protecting consumers from predatory practices.

It played a key role in defending Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the battleground state, fighting repeated attempts to overturn it in state and federal courts by Donald Trump’s campaign and Republican allies.

Copeland, 56, also was a prosecutor for Delaware County in suburban Philadelphia and served for two years as the court-appointed district attorney there. She ran for a full four-year term in 2019 but lost to Democrat Jack Stollsteimer.

Between her work for the district attorney’s office and the U.S. attorney’s office, Copeland has spent three decades as a prosecutor. In the U.S. attorney’s office, she rose to become chief of the criminal division and serve in the national security and cybercrimes unit.

Copeland has competition for the Republican nomination. York County’s district attorney, Dave Sunday, has announced his candidacy and is endorsed by the Republican Attorneys General Association. Craig Williams, a state House member from Delaware County, also has said he plans to run.

Four Democrats have also announced their candidacies: state Rep. Jared Solomon of Philadelphia, former state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, former federal prosecutor Joe Kahn and Keir Bradford-Grey, the former head of Philadelphia’s and Montgomery County’s public defense lawyers.

Candidates must file paperwork by Feb. 13 to appear on the April 23 primary ballot.

Current Attorney General Michelle Henry, who was appointed to serve out the remainder of Josh Shapiro’s term as when he became governor, has said she does not plan to run for a full term.