GOP candidate for DA won't say if she voted for Trump

Beth Grossman is the Philadelphia Republican Party's candidate for district attorney.

Beth Grossman, the Philadelphia Republican Party's candidate for district attorney, says she is seeking support from Donald Trump voters in the city.

But Grossman won't say if she voted for Trump.

"I'm not going to answer who I voted for," Grossman said while announcing her candidacy Wednesday. "I don't think that's relevant at this point."

Grossman's campaign this week said it would "micro-target voters who agree that change is needed," including the nearly 109,000 Philadelphians who supported Trump.

Asked how she will target Trump voters without answering the question of whom she supported, Grossman said: "Look, I am a Philadelphia Republican. My focus, my entire legal career has been on Philadelphia."

Grossman launched her campaign outside the Kensington pawnshop that was once home to her parents' candy shop, under a rumbling Market-Frankford Elevated train line.

Grossman was an assistant district attorney for 21 years and served as chief of the Public Nuisances Task Force. She left that post in April 2015 for a job in the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections. She left that job to enter private practice in June 2016, the same month she switched her voter registration from Democratic to Republican.

Grossman used her campaign announcement to slam District Attorney Seth Williams, a Democrat seeking a third term.

"It is a disappointing irony when Philadelphia's chief law enforcement officer is himself the target of a law enforcement investigation," she said.

The Inquirer reported in August 2015 that the FBI and IRS, working with a federal grand jury, had subpoenaed financial records from the political action committee Williams used to seek office.

Williams in August 2016 amended his statements of financial interests for 2010 to 2015, listing $160,050 in previously unreported gifts, including $45,000 in home repairs, Eagles sideline passes, and airfare and lodging for several vacations.

Williams declined to comment. Dan Fee, a spokesman for his campaign, said of Grossman, "It's a bit of a surprise she's running, given her service under Seth Williams for more than half a decade, but ambition and underemployment do strange things to people."

Grossman said a Republican district attorney could offer "skeptical opposition" in a city where Democrats hold a 7-1 voter-registration edge over Republicans.

"Even beyond one elected official's ethical challenges, I am running to free Philadelphia from the dangerous, inevitable corruption of one-party rule," Grossman said.

Joe DeFelice, chairman of the Republican City Committee, said after Grossman's event that he didn't think her refusal to say whether she voted for Trump would be a problem. He noted that Trump took 15.4 percent of the city's presidential votes in November.

"We can't just concentrate on our base to come out, because we won't win anything," DeFelice said. "We need to appeal to other people."

215-854-5973 @ByChrisBrennan