Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said today he’s dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general and endorsing Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Chairman Josh Shapiro.
“I want to thank all my supporters across Pennsylvania who have encouraged me to run, especially my family and close personal friends. It has, however, become increasingly clear that 2016 is not the right year for me to make this race.” Mr. Stollsteimer said in a joint statement released by Mr. Shapiro’s campaign.
He praised Mr. Shapiro as “a public servant for whom I have great respect.”
“His record of accomplishment in Montgomery County gives me confidence that Josh has the executive experience to restore integrity to the Office of Attorney General,” Mr. Stollsteimer said. “Moreover, from his work as chair of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, I know that he is committed to implementing community focused law enforcement strategies to enhance public safety throughout our Commonwealth.”
“I am grateful to Jack for his faith in me and support of my campaign for attorney general.” Mr. Shapiro said. “Jack’s an experienced and accomplished former assistant U.S. attorney with an exemplary record of public service. We both have worked hard to address the epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse in Pennsylvania. I am proud to have his support and counsel as a criminal justice policy advisor to my campaign.”
Mr. Stollsteimer, one of the first candidates in the Democratic race, lagged badly in a November poll produced for Mr. Shapiro’s campaign by Global Strategy Group.
Mr. Shapiro had the support of 18 percent of 802 likely voters surveyed between Nov. 19 and 23.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala had the support of 16 percent, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, 8 percent, Pittsburgh commercial litigation lawyer Dave Fawcett, 4 percent, and Mr. Stollstemer, 3 percent.
Mr. Fawcett announced yesterday he’s dropping out of the race, leaving only Mr. Morganelli, who has lost in three bids for the office, and Mr. Shapiro and Mr. Zappala, who have never run statewide.
On the Republican side, state Sen. John Rafferty is the lone candidate in the race, but former Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Peters is expected to decide on a candidacy this week.