Close this search box.

PA-2: Possible Replacements for Rep. Chaka Fattah

Silhouette-question-markCongressman Chaka Fattah was indicted on 29 criminal counts today.

While not surprising, this news potentially opens up a brand new contest in Philly politics.

Of course, Rep. Fattah has not been tried yet and it appears he won’t resign (Holly Otterbein of Citified explains how the timeline will affect the process). Nonetheless, the case against him is quite imposing. It is also possible that one of the people listed below, or someone else, decides to run against Fattah in the 2016 Democratic primary.

Unfortunately for Republicans, this seat is rated D+38. That makes it the third-most Democratic district in the country. In fact, a Republican hasn’t represented the 2nd district since Harry S Truman was President.

The following are our best guesses at potential candidates:

The Big Names

Michael Nutter: The Mayor of Philadelphia only has a few months left in his term and could seek Fattah’s seat as the next step of his political career. After all, Nutter is still only 58 and has already beaten Fattah once. It would be difficult, though, to go from executive of the country’s fifth-largest city to a back-bench legislator in the minority party. Plus the Mayor’s popularity is not exactly stellar, he was booed when President Obama came to campaign in Philly last November. All in all, Nutter will likely pass.

Seth Williams: Philadelphia’s District Attorney has made a name for himself prosecuting the now infamous sting operation that AG Kane passed on. He is always mentioned as a guy seeking higher office but most of his avenues are closed (Governor, both Senate seats). He could choose to run in the Democratic primary for Attorney General next year against Kane but Montco Commissioner Josh Shapiro is seen as a real contender in that race. So might Seth turn to D.C.? Only if he really wants to move up and/or has legislative ambitions. In Philadelphia, officials have to resign their office if they want to run for another. Given that reality, he will probably stay where he is and bide his time.

The Veterans

Dwight Evans: In the last thirty years, the State Representative has run for Lt. Governor, Governor, and Mayor twice. Therefore, it’s worth pondering whether he’ll try to make another leap. All of those offices, though, were executive positions. Evans may not want to give up his seniority in Harrisburg just to become a congressional back-bencher. Additionally, State Rep. Evans was an early supporter of both Governor Wolf and Philly Democratic Mayoral nominee Jim Kenney. With such powerful allies, it doesn’t make sense to leave.

Vincent Hughes: In 1994, Hughes replace Fattah in the State Senate. Could history repeat itself? Hughes has steadily risen through the ranks in Harrisburg, though, becoming the ranking member of the Appropriations Committee. Still, he floated his name out there when Democrats were looking for an alternative to Joe Sestak. The State Senator is married to actress Sheryl Lee Ralph and may be more attracted to the brighter spotlight in D.C. as compared to Harrisburg.

The Fresh Face

Doug Oliver: Oftentimes during crowded primaries there are “two winners”, the actual winner and the little-known candidate that makes a great impression. For example, Katie McGinty accomplished this in last year’s Governor’s race and is now preparing a run for Senate. Doug Oliver took that prize during this May’s mayoral primary. Furthermore, at just 40 years old Oliver could serve in Congress for decades and would have the opportunity to make a lasting impact. The major question will be whether he’ll rise to the occasion. It’s easy to run a race you won’t win, it is much harder to take the next step and grab victory when it’s within your grasp.

The Long Shot

Brian Sims: The first openly gay candidate elected to the legislature, State Rep. Sims is a star among progressive Democrats. At 36, he has a long career ahead of him and a chance to serve in Congress would be incredibly tempting. Sims, however, faces a major barrier. Fattah is the only non-white member of the PA congressional delegation and the Second District is over 61% black. Therefore, any replacement would pretty much have to be black as well. While Sims could have a bright future ahead, this might not be the right contest for him.

31 Responses

  1. Everyone always talks about the dirt that is in Congressman fatah pass why hasn’t anybody talked about all the things that state representative Dwight Evan is done and the money that he has taken and stolen over the years and not to mention his secret life style

  2. The only names that make sense to me on this list are Hughes and Oliver. Compared to the others, they have little to lose by running and much to gain.

  3. I like Dan and Rosita, neither mentioned here. I have to agree with PA Voter and LoriK – PoliticsPA rolls out the same tired names all the time with their inflated opinions of their relevance. Brian Sims is a joke in Harrisburg. And Seth Williams is about as popular as Michael Nutter in the black community, as you stated the 2nd is 61% black, which makes it all the more laughable that Brian Sims is mentioned. Try digging a little deeper Politics PA, as usual disapointing dribble barely scratching the surface.

  4. Pavoter – someone needs to draw attention to “law enforcement”‘ issues. It sure ain’t going to be the 1% or the Tea Partiers. While I agree that it may cost him some votes in the middle of the State, there are plenty of smart people that get what is going on with law enforcement in America.

    Williams should be more concerned with the group of men he employs who sent porn to Judges they appeared in front of. And I’m not talking about a SI swimsuit model … I’m talking about graphic violence against women … bestiality … a 100 year old woman having sex … sexual images of children …

    According to the INKY, the porn also included “inspirational posters” with titles such as “Devotion” and “Willingness” depicting females performing sex acts on their male bosses.

    Unless he doesn’t care about the female vote, Williams needs to figure this out.

  5. @ DD:

    I think Nutter may covet this opportunity, absent other elective-office opportunities.

  6. State Rep. Rosita Youngblood should be mentioned…the first black female to hold a leadership spot in the Legislature; has a ton of experience; and is well liked by labor, independents and locals. Not a philly party machine favorite cause she bucks the system a bit, but she has strong labor support.

  7. rsklaroff-

    Your third question is far too open/speculative.

    Running for city council, state rep, state senate would be a move backward, so unlikely.

    Nutter’s name came up as a possible challenger to Sestak for Senate, but there was a low bar to get your name on that list.

    I doubt he challenge Casey for Senate. Don’t know if he’s interested in being governor.

    He can probably get some cushy job with a law firm or lobbying firm or one some boards, and not bother running for office anymore.

  8. Re: idratherbefishingwithrick- in spite of your response in all caps (lol), yes, it would matter how it played outside philly. That pic would be an excellent 15 or 30 second ad accompanied by a narration about judgment. How much luck do you think any statewide candidate (think Rendell, Casey, ridge, toomey, anybody) would have had if they had pictures of themselves in a hoodie protesting law enforcement out there on the Internet? As soo. As soon as he put those pictures out there Rufus limited himself to office in philly only.

  9. @ DD:

    Transcending your snarkiness [because I was aware that anyone can run from anywhere, but wanted to know the data] was your having avoided replying to my third query: “To what else could Nutter aspire?”

  10. “Anyone want to guess how well that will play outside philly?”


  11. Rufus has another huge problem when it comes to any state wide aspirations he may entertain, besides the fina connection: a simple Google search pulls up some pretty dumb pictures Rufus posted of himself on the Internet wearing a trayvon martin hoodie, back when, for about a week, some peoe thought it was cool to protest Florida law enforcement by going to trayvon martin hoodie protests. He was actually the da in philly when he did that! Dumb! Anyone want to guess how well that will play outside philly?

  12. Rsklaroff-

    This is the closest you’ve come to asking an intelligent/intelligible question in a long time, so in the tradition of Pavlov, I will “reward” you with a response (though I suspect the dog was more trainable).

    Michael Nutter does live in the 2nd Congressional district

    Seth Williams (whose actual name is Rufus Seth Williams) lives in the 1st Congressional district.

    However, any PA resident can run in any district, so Rufus is eligible to run, despite not living in the district.

  13. LOL … Is that what you call your man-love? “Bubba”?

    He looks mor like a “George” … or an”Ed” … or a “Frank” …

  14. SETH LOVES THAT CREW. After all they are the BEST prosecutors in the Game. Stop being a Hater. Definitely not SEXY. One last thing, tell your friend’s and or family ( the criminals that Fina put in prison )that Bubba said hello. I guess I would Hate Fina also, if He put my peeps in the slammer.

  15. If Seth William’s wants to be AG … or anything else for that matter – he needs to dump Fina and the crew that came with him (the ones posting here all the

    Frank Fina is alleged to have watched and distributed images of female employees performing sex acts on their male bosses.
    A series of “motivational images” in the e-mails sent around — titled “Willingness,” “Devotion,” “Resourcefulness” and “Performance” — showed oral and anal sex. The “Performance” image was described as “mandatory for all secretarial staff.”

    Doesn’t sound like a guy that William’s wants around … especially when you consider that the Court Orders Fina got won’t protect him forever.

  16. Truth be told – posting the same comment to multiple threads just makes you look like an idiot. Just sayin.

  17. Dan Muroff is not mentioned, but is the only listed who has a deep knowledge of federal policy, ward politics and, most importantly, federal fundraising. I would be very surprised that someone used to an executive position would want to commute four hours daily to be in the minority.

  18. The republican leadership team lead by Speaker Turzai is going to Israel for a junket the next 2 weeks … I guess we won’t be having budget talks during this time. Some one needs to ask Turzai why he is going on a junket with the State Legislative Leaders Foundation while we have no state budget. This smells on the good ole days when pay raises were passed in the night!

  19. Delcommoner: In addition to what you said about FFINA, don’t forget he also headed the Sandusky investigation WHILE doing ‘porngate’!!!! Is there some reason he & TCorbutt did not want to do that investigation from the beginning …. besides for TC’s political aspirations which we all know was behind the ‘Governorship’? Are you sure we want FF back in the AG’s office IF and should Seth Wms run for AG??? IF Seth would be successful, guess what, FFINA would be back in that office possibly prosecuting those that came out of the woodwork to squeal on him. Is everyone ready to go thru this AGAIN!!! Think about it!

  20. Regarding Seth, does he live in the district? (There is also a typo: “bide” rather than “bind.”)

    Regarding Michael, does he live in the district?

    To what else could Nutter aspire?

  21. From your comments it looks like either State Senator Hughes or Doug Oliver are the most likely.

  22. Interesting. Seth Williams wants to be AG. That explains his public spat with Kane; and his questionable decision to hire Fina and take up the sting case with Ali.

    Speaking of the sting case – Anyone know what is going on with Bishop’s trial? Does it have a date yet? Is Williams really going to allow that case to go to trial? Can he afford the bad press? All the other defendants got no jail and got to keep their pensions. Bishop isn’t falling for it. She knows the case is a joke and that Ali will not be credible.

    Someone needs to ask Williams why he continuers to employ Fina. The Press has reported that Fina was one of the prosecutors sending porn to Judges. That porn was said to include sexual images of children and graphic violence against women.

  23. Surely the Party can find at least one woman! Guess that the oldboy network is in charge, as usual.

  24. This list seems “easy”, picks out the same politicians names that are mentioned every time there is an open seat, and has no real insight. In the Crowdpac field, Dan Muroff, a lawyer and the ninth ward leader has a lot of support on that website, and is one of the top three contenders for the seat. His name should be mentioned, as he is smart, honest to a fault, and worked on the Hill. Dont count him out.

  25. Matt Gabler in the 75th district promised he would only run for 3 terms when first elected in 2008 was elected to his 4th term in 2014.

  26. @DemPA It would be nice to have Lindy Li switch districts and run here since she has no shot at PA-7. She would have a long career ahead of her as well.

  27. Personally, the only true choice is former Mayor John Street. I’d settle for Milton too.

    We need to bring integrity back to the 2nd district. John Street is the person up for the job.

  28. Nick your summary of seth Williams and Brian sims is way off. You are the only one impressed with Brian sims, who has done nothing as a state rep, and let’s all wait and see if he breaks his promise to only serve 2 terms as state rep. In his race against Babette Josephs in 2012 he said he’d serve only two teams then leave. Something tells me that promise isn’t going to stick. He’s an empty suit would rather pick on fellow democrats like rep Cohen than actually buckle down and get something done against republicans. And Seth Williams has been quietly but pretty noticeably talking himself up around philly as the next congressman from the 2nd. He’s tired of being da and missed the boat when he didn’t run for mayor against tony Williams when the party asked him to stand aside for tony, only to later watch Kenney jump in and snatch the win for mayor. Where do you get your info?

  29. @DemPA Shaughnessy Naughton could switch districts and run for Chaka’s seat since she actually lives in center city Philadelphia.

  30. No woman mentioned? There at least has to be one or two that could be contenders.

  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
    • More Likely (34%)
    • Makes No Difference (30%)

    Total Voters: 112

    Loading ... Loading ...
Continue to Browser


To install tap and choose
Add to Home Screen