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Who is Eugene DePasquale, a Democrat running for Pa. attorney general?

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

Democratic attorney general candidate Eugene DePasquale
Commonwealth Media Services

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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.

Eugene DePasquale is one of five Democrats 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 DePasquale below.

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Who is Eugene DePasquale?


Born in Pittsburgh, DePasquale attended the College of Wooster, the University of Pittsburgh, and Widener University Commonwealth Law School.

He served three terms as a state House lawmaker and was the state auditor general for two terms.

In the latter role, DePasquale said his office identified roughly $103 million “in misspent or recoverable state funds,” brought attention to backlogged rape kits, and found the state’s child abuse reporting hotline failed to answer 58,000 calls between January 2014 and June 2016.

His two terms as auditor general were marked by the regular release of special reports focused on policy issues critics say were beyond the traditional scope of the office. One report laid out 12 recommendations for reducing gun violence deaths. Another estimated how much revenue the commonwealth was missing by not taxing marijuana.

DePasquale is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

He has never worked as a prosecutor, defense lawyer, or trial lawyer, according to the Associated Press. In an interview with that news outlet, he said his experience as auditor general is “the kind of leadership that Pennsylvania needs as its next attorney general.”

Top issues: DePasquale said he would prosecute hate crimes against LGBTQ people, oppose efforts to suppress votes, oppose book bans, and protect abortion access.

“I've got the spine to take on big corporations, big insurance companies, and to run complex investigations,” he said at a March debate.

When asked how he would address violent crime during the same debate, Depasquale said the state needs to focus on mental health in addition to getting guns away from “bad people.” He said the state needs to implement a so-called “red flag” law, which would allow law enforcement or family to petition a judge to temporarily take away an individual's firearms if it appears that person may harm themselves or others.

Endorsements: Democratic members of the legislature; county and local officials; former U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (D., Pa.); organizations including Ricky’s Pride PAC, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 520, and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.

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

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