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Candidate 101

Who is Dave Sunday, a Republican running for Pa. attorney general?

by Félicie Jungels, Maya Mehrara, and Sophia Takla for Spotlight PA |

Republican attorney general candidate Dave Sunday
Courtesy candidate website

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HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania voters will elect a new attorney general this November, but Democrats and Republicans first must pick their candidates this spring.

Dave Sunday is one of two Republicans running for his party’s nomination and will appear on the April 23 primary ballot.

The attorney general represents the interests of the state and the public, and defends Pennsylvania’s laws in court. In recent years, the office has defended the results of the 2020 presidential election against numerous attempts to overturn them.

Learn more about Sunday below.

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Who is Dave Sunday?


Born in Harrisburg and raised in Cumberland County, Sunday served in the U.S. Navy then attended Penn State University and Widener University Commonwealth Law School.

He clerked for Common Pleas Judge Joseph C. Adams before moving to the York County district attorney’s office. There, he was the chief deputy prosecutor of litigation.

During that time, he worked with York County’s Agency on Aging to start an Elder Abuse Task Force aimed at protecting older people from scams. He also co-founded what’s now known as the York Opioid Collaborative with the county coroner. Part of the task force’s work, according to a 2017 York Dispatch article, was to equip all police with the overdose reversal medicine naloxone.

Sunday was elected York County district attorney in 2017. He leads a team that prosecutes approximately 9,000 criminal cases annually.

The county has seen a reduction in crime and its prison population during his tenure, according to the York Daily Record. The city of York itself experienced a 36% drop in gun crime from 2022 to 2023, the news outlet reported.

“Everyone is given the opportunity to change their life,” Sunday told the paper of the York County Group Violence Intervention initiative. “The reality is, if you don’t do that, you’re going to be arrested and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunday directed local law enforcement not to issue citations to businesses that violated former Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s ongoing business closure order. He issued a similar mandate not to prosecute citations related to Wolf’s 2021 order requiring masking in schools.

“This order includes built-in justifications and the language of the order does not include the details of how they can be proven,” Sunday said at the time.

Top issues: Public safety and the opioid epidemic are Sunday’s top priorities. He’s pointed to his collaborative work in York County as a model, and described his philosophy as “accountability and redemption.”

During a March debate, Sunday said one of the No. 1 causes of crime is the failure to arrest, charge, and prosecute people for illegal possessions of firearms. “Because until that's done, we are never going to see a change,” he said.

Sunday said during the same debate that he does not believe the state constitution guarantees a right to abortion access, arguing that decision belongs to the legislature.

He later added, “I will follow the law, whatever that law is, as determined by the legislature.”

When asked about lingering doubts about election integrity, Sunday said that in York County he assigned detectives to investigate criminal election complaints. “And as a result of that, we were able to see … that there was not material fraud in the county of York to have changed the York County election,” he said. “I can't speak to any other place.”

Endorsements: the Pennsylvania Republican Party; the Republican Attorneys General Association; Republican state senators including President Pro Tempore Kim Ward; U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker; Treasurer Stacy Garrity; York Fraternal Order of Police No. 73.

>>READ MORE: A complete guide to the primary candidates for attorney general

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