Fattah concedes, Evans will be Democratic nominee in the 2nd

Dwight Evans (right), Democratic nominee for Congress, is greeted by his brother, Gary, at Temptations banquet hall.

Chaka Fattah, a fixture in Philadelphia politics for three decades, was ousted from the Second Congressional District seat by State Rep. Dwight Evans in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

Fattah's fall came 20 days before the start of his federal criminal trial, an impending peril he tried to downplay as he campaigned for a 12th term.

Fattah conceded just after 10 p.m. He stuck to the twin themes of his campaign - his long record of bringing resources to the district, and his complaint that the media did not give those accomplishments attention.

"There were forces arrayed against us tonight of very powerful and influential people," Fattah told his supporters, gathered in a Center City union hall.

Evans told cheering supporters that he was "humbled" by the win and exhorted them to "bring home victory in November."

He stands a better than fair chance. The district is dominated by Democrats, with 81 percent of the registered voters, while Republicans have 8.5 percent and independents and smaller political parties hold 10 percent. The district covers parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

With 97 percent of the vote tallied in the city, Evans led Fattah by about six points. With all the vote tallied in Montgomery County, however, Evans trailed the two other Democrats in the race.

Fattah, 59, has held public office since winning a seat in the state House in 1983. He moved to the state Senate in 1989 and then won his House seat in 1994.

The loss caps a tumultuous 10 months for Fattah and his family. Fattah was indicted last July on charges of racketeering, bank fraud, bribery, and money laundering for what prosecutors called a scheme to repay an illegal $1 million campaign loan in his 2007 run for mayor. He is also accused of taking bribes from a lobbyist.

His son, Chaka "Chip" Jr., was convicted in November on unrelated bank and fraud charges.

His wife, former NBC10 news anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah, went on leave after he was indicted and parted ways with her employer in February. Fattah's indictment suggests a sham sale of his wife's Porsche was used to cover up a bribe from a lobbyist.

Fattah has frequently dismissed the federal case against him as "frivolous," but the impact on his political career was clear. His meager campaign fund-raising was overwhelmed by fees and debts to the lawyers representing him.

Jury selection starts Monday for Fattah's trial, which will begin May 16.

Still, Fattah won the endorsement of the Democratic City Committee and its chairman, his colleague U.S. Rep. Robert Brady.

Fattah used a robocall to court voters Tuesday, including audio from a 2013 shout-out from President Obama at a Congressional Black Caucus event. The White House pushed back, saying Fattah did not have permission to use Obama's voice.

Evans, 61, was much better financed and benefited from endorsements from Gov. Wolf and Mayor Kenney.

He avoided almost any mention of Fattah's legal troubles, instead pushing a wonky vision of returning urban issues to the national agenda.

Evans has served 36 years in the state House's 203rd District, which stretches from West Oak Lane to Lawncrest. He did not seek a 19th term in that seat this year.

Attorney Dan Muroff, 48, of East Mount Airy, and Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon, 55, also sought the Democratic nomination for the seat.

James Jones, 60, was the lone Republican in his party's primary Tuesday. Jones, who owns a human-resources consulting firm, will face Evans in the Nov. 8 general election.

brennac@phillynews.com

215-854-5973 @ByChrisBrennan