Campaigns & Elections

Republican Party endorses David Sunday for state attorney general

The York County District Attorney will look to be the first GOP AG elected since 2008

York District Attorney David Sunday speaks at a PEMA press conference in 2019

York District Attorney David Sunday speaks at a PEMA press conference in 2019 Commonwealth Media Services

An eventful Monday resulted in a win for Sunday, as Pennsylvania’s Republican Party endorsed York County District Attorney David Sunday for state attorney general. 

The party’s endorsement, which comes after state committee members met virtually Monday evening, will likely be a major boost to Sunday’s campaign in what was a three-candidate race on the Republican side. Sunday won the endorsement over former Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland and state Rep. Craig Williams.

Copeland said she wouldn’t run against the party’s endorsed candidate and ended her campaign Monday, according to The Associated Press. Williams, on the other hand, has yet to end his campaign, going as far as comparing the endorsed Sunday to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, a progressive prosecutor who’s drawn the ire of Harrisburg Republicans. 

In a statement issued earlier on Monday, Williams said he withdrew himself from the party endorsement process. He also claimed Sunday has let the City of York become “one of the most violent places in the commonwealth” and that he “offers no contrast to the other Democrats in this race.”

Sunday took over as district attorney in York County in 2018 after spending time as chief deputy prosecutor under his predecessor. He often testifies in Harrisburg on legal and criminal issues and previously gained notoriety in the region for his appointment to be special assistant United States attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. 

He kicked off his campaign in June by touting his experience as a litigator and prosecutor, including his work fighting illegal drugs and his experience as a U.S. Navy veteran, and picked up early endorsements from state Treasurer Stacy Garrity, U.S. Reps. Dan Meuser and Lloyd Smucker, the Republican Attorneys General Association and state Senate leadership. 

The commonwealth has a history of attorney generals making a name for themselves first as the state’s leading prosecutor and then as governor, including the last two elected attorneys general in former Gov. Tom Corbett and current Gov. Josh Shapiro. 

And while no Republican has been elected attorney general in the commonwealth since 2008, GOP candidates have had some success as of late in statewide row office races. Garrity won the state treasurer race in 2020 by just 0.8%, or just more than 50,000 votes. In the same year, Auditor General Tim DeFoor, also a Republican, won by 3.1%. 

In order to run for the position – which is currently held by Democrat Michelle Henry, who succeeded Gov. Josh Shapiro – a person must be at least 30 years old, have been a Pennsylvania resident for at least seven years and be a member of the bar of the state Supreme Court. 

Several Democrats remain in contention in the race for attorney general, too. Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, state Rep. Jared Solomon of Philadelphia, former state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, former federal prosecutor Joe Kahn and Keir Bradford-Grey, the former head of Philadelphia’s and Montgomery County’s public defense lawyers, are continuing their campaigns as of this week. 

The Democratic Party ultimately declined to endorse a candidate in December, though DePasquale received the most support during his party’s endorsement meeting.