Former Councilman McElhatton To Run for DA; 2009 race wide-open

Former City Councilman Dan McElhatton made the decision Saturday: He is officially jumping into the 2009 race for district attorney.

"I'll be doing the paperwork this week, and then I'll probably start raising money," said McElhatton, who visited with some of his former Council colleagues today to spread the news.

The race will be a hot one, as there is no incumbent - for the first time since 1985. Among the higher-profile candidates McElhatton will likely face are Seth Williams, the city's former inspector general and a former city prosecutor who lost his first bid for district attorney in the Democratic primary in 2005, and attorney Dan McCaffery, whose brother is state Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery and who also worked for the district attorney's office.

While McElhatton has been pondering a run for quite some time, what sealed his decision was the confirmation of Common Pleas Court President Darnell Jones, who had been contemplating a run, to the federal bench. "That left a field that I evaluated and, I thought, this may be the opportunity. I think I can be a better district attorney than any folks in the field," McElhatton said, citing judgment, experience and integrity.

An assistant district attorney for four years in the 1970s, McElhatton served one term in Council from 1992 to 1996, and is currently in private practice.

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