U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, under indictment on federal corruption charges, now also has a challenger in the April 26 Democratic primary election.
Dan Muroff, an attorney from East Mount Airy and Democratic ward leader for the politically potent Ninth Ward, last week filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.
Fattah, 58, who was indicted last month on charges of racketeering, bank fraud, bribery, money laundering and other crimes, has vowed to seek a 12th two-year term in office. He had his first court hearing Tuesday, at which he entered not guilty pleas to all charges.
Muroff, 48, is well-known in this city's political community but does not have Fattah's strong name recognition across the 2nd Congressional district, which covers parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County.
Muroff predicts a "robust primary" for the seat, possibly with more than two candidates. He said his candidacy is not a judgment about charges against Fattah.
"That's not what this is about for me," he said. "This is about seeing a very active primary next year. I'm confident it will be. And I'm confident that there may be a new nominee" for the seat.
Muroff said he entered the race early so that he could start raising money for his campaign.
Democrats hold strong political sway over the district, making up 81 percent of the registered voters while Republicans are 8.5 percent and independents are 10 percent.
The Ninth Ward covers all of Chestnut Hill and parts of East Mount Airy and West Mount Airy. The ward had the best voter turn-out in the last election, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Code For Philly.
Muroff has seven years of Capitol Hill experience, working for several members of the U.S. House, starting as an intern for the late U.S. Rep. Tom Foglietta of Philadelphia, former U.S. Rep. Joe Hoeffel of Montgomery County and two Democrats from Massachusetts.