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Heidelbaugh Under Fire from Philly FOP After Ad with Slain Officers


Heather Heidelbaugh’s effort to position herself as the pro-police candidate backfired badly this week, as the President of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police condemned her campaign’s use of names and photos of fallen officers in an ad blasting incumbent Attorney General Josh Shapiro. 

The online spot accuses Shapiro of tacitly endorsing policies of Phila. District Attorney Larry Krasner. 

“Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s anti-cop District Attorney, wants a peace and reconciliation commission. He wants the police to apologize for doing their jobs,” the ad says. “What does Josh Shapiro say? Nothing.” It says Shapiro should, “step in to stop Krasner’s antics.” 

In the latter part of the spot, images of Philadelphia police officers killed in the line of duty show on the screen, followed by their names, with the words, “They Don’t Have a Voice Anymore” front and center on the screen. 

FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby blasted the ad and called on the Heidelbaugh campaign to take it down. 

“I Was just made aware of a despicable add by the Republican candidate for AG. She slammed Krasner and Shapiro. She used the faces of our fallen heroes to do so. What a low blow to our families !!!” McNesby wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “Suppose one of them is sitting home and sees their loved one on TV. Let’s send a message. Keep our dead heroes out of your political ads…….especially without permission.”

This is a screenshot of McNesby’s comment on social media. The name and email address of the staffer for the Heidelbaugh campaign has been covered in this image.

He urged people to contact Heidelbaugh’s campaign, saying the ad “SINKS TO A NEW LOW.” 

The tweet was deleted from McNesby’s timeline, but his comments remain on the FOP Lodge 5’s Instagram account

Heidelbaugh’s campaign said it was no longer spending to promote the video, characterizing it as having run its planned course, to be followed by new ads forthcoming. It remains on the campaign YouTube page without edits.

“We have the utmost respect for the men and women who serve in law enforcement. That’s why we think it’s important to have a discussion about Shapiro’s silence,” said campaign spokesman Dennis Roddy. “Josh Shapiro continues to abet leftist Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner and his campaign against that city’s law enforcement officers. Our message remains: the men and women shown in that ad need a voice defending their legacy against such a betrayal.”

It makes sense for Heidelbaugh to link Shapiro to the left of his party in pursuit of its support. Like many police unions, FOP Lodge 5 is traditionally Democratic but has trended Republican in recent years. In 2016 it endorsed Donald Trump for President and Shapiro for AG; McNesby and Shapiro maintain a good relationship. 

Shapiro, who is widely expected to run for Governor in 2022, has sought a delicate balance between law enforcement organizations and a rising progressive movement that is very critical of police policy. He and Krasner have publicly jousted before, notably in 2019 when the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation that allowed Shapiro to have joint jurisdiction over gun crimes in Philadelphia. Krasner accused Shapiro of participating in a “power grab,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, although Shapiro ultimately did not use this power (the point of Heidelbaugh’s attack). Subsequently, Krasner told the Inquirer on June 30 that their relationship is “in a much better place.” 

Shapiro’s campaign slammed echoed McNesby and said he stands with those families tragically killed in the line of duty. 

“It’s shameful that Heather Heidelbaugh would exploit the names and images of fallen officers for a desperate political attack ad, without their families’ permission,” said Shapiro campaign manager Dana Fritz. “Attorney General Shapiro has always stood with the families of fallen officers and attends survivors’ events annually to privately meet with and comfort the spouses, children and loved ones of those tragically killed in the line of duty.” 

F.O.P. Lodge 5 Vice President Nicholas DeNofa said in a statement to PoliticsPA that the ad was in “incredibly poor taste” and lauded Shapiro as a “very strong supporter of law enforcement” in the state.

“While this is a political campaign squabble, we do believe that it was in incredibly poor taste to use our fallen heroes for political props for the media,” DeNofa said. “We don’t ever support candidates that cheapen the sacrifice our heroes and their families have made.”

“Attorney General Shapiro has been a very strong supporter of law enforcement in Pennsylvania,” DeNofa continued. “We will continue to support any elected official that backs law enforcement in today’s anti-police climate.”

Heidelbaugh’s first ad, hitting Shapiro on COVID-19 from two months ago, only had 35 views as of Thursday afternoon. This new ad, published to the campaign’s Youtube channel on Wednesday, had 570 views as of Thursday afternoon.

16 Responses

  1. If you recall “Gary Barbara” automobiles TV ads about 15 years ago he (Gary Barbara) used his own sales pitch of photographs of dead police officers to sell his cars?

    It was a PR disaster. It was the obsession that we Republicans have with Krasner that drives this ineptitude to use dead cops as a sales tactic.

    Besides the fact that the families of the dead cops were exploited by it it’s just pure pandering for Anti-Krasner ploy.

    Just as the Donald is always on the minds of the Democrats its Larry Krasner obsession on our side of the pander box.

    Dumb thing to use the cops image without permission and get McNesby into his attack mode…as McNesby is egocentric.

    Besides, McNesby has backed crooked people like Bobby Henon and supports guys like Al Taubenberger (past tense) who praise Jim Kenney for his Sanctuary City policy?

    Don’t give McNesby this victory by going crazy over Krasner!

  2. PhillyGOP Watch-

    Toomey is a sellout to the people of PA and the country on many levels.

    It’s going to take Krasner a while clean up the messes in Philly by his predecessors and the corruption the FOP protects. Though, I’d love to see Krasner on a statewide court bench.

    Josh is worse than just not being progressive enough when he actively undermines a progressive DA (and is so transparently political about it).

    Josh is a little shit who wants to be a big shit. He’s AG as a stepping stone to be Gov and more power. He doesn’t want to serve a full second term. He is going to be REALLY pissed off if another Dem beats him in the 2022 Gov primary, because then he’s stuck as AG for two more years. He will have wasted 8 years in a job he didn’t want as a sacrifice to be Gov.

  3. Shapiro is so far up the ass of the Philly FOP that he can tell you what Nesby had for dinner last night.

    Shapiro got $25,000 from FOP in May. He got about $40,000 last year. Shapiro (and his staff) have actively sought to undermine DA Krasner. The Philly FOP probably has good reason to believe that Shapiro will look the other way.

    1. And Toomey isn’t. How do you explain the deleted tweet?

      I agree. We should elect Krasner to statewide office. That would be the best thing to ever happen to the GOP in the state.

  4. Looks like Toomey and ColdSpark cooked this up for Heidelbaugh. Senator Toomey probably called and got McNesby to take down his tweet. AG Shapiro better watch out and get McNesby in line because Toomey is running the Heidelbaugh Campaign.

    I hope this effort does not interfere with Senator Toomey’s other job. I believe he is co-chairing the Biden Campaign with Romney.

  5. Typical Republican Nazi style campaigning. Ignore facts and throw shyt and don’t have any concern about who might be collaterally offended. Winning is all that counts. The Trump playbook,,,over 10,000 lies and counting.

  6. Just watched this. I am GOP and even I know that is bad. You want to tie Shapiro to Krasner, sure, though its a stretch, but that is a campaign. But to show those faces and their names in a political commercial? Malpractice. But I have heard this candidate on some zoom calls and she is not ready for prime time. It is no surprise she would have approved it.

  7. What’s shocking is she hired Dennis Roddy to do her communications. Wow talk about washed up and checked out. Time to change the ribbons in your typewriter Dennis.

  8. Let’s face it: Josh Shapiro melts down at the first hint of criticism. It is amazing to see the FOP president defending Krasner and Shapiro.

  9. Josh Shapiro has stood up for the students, parent, voters of all groups and boldly fought for the common man. This ad appears desperate and sad and lacking ethical consideration.

      1. Get a new joke. This one is about a stale as Mikey Stack’s routine.

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