The Pennsylvania Republican Party has endorsed York County District Attorney Dave Sunday for attorney general.
A United States Navy veteran, Sunday put himself through college and law school while working at UPS. Sunday leads an office of prosecutors and detectives who together investigate and prosecute approximately 9,000 criminal cases annually, according to his website.
Sunday won the regional straw polls. Both he and Kat Copeland, the former Delaware County DA and federal prosecutor, were interviewed by party leaders during a virtual meeting Monday evening, where Sunday got the nod.
Sunday was the first Republican to throw his hat into the ring for the attorney general nomination. Previously, Copeland indicated she would not continue in the race if she was not the endorsed candidate.
A third candidate, state Rep. state Rep. Craig Williams, a former federal prosecutor and U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran, plans to compete in the April 23 primary. Williams withdrew from contention for the endorsement over the weekend.
Sunday earned an undergraduate degree in finance from Penn State University in 2002 and graduated from Widener Law School in 2007. During law school, he worked as a legal intern at the United Nations Office of the Secretariat in New York, where he was assigned to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
After graduation from law school, he worked as a law clerk for Joseph C. Adams, former President Judge of the York County Court of Common Pleas. For the last 15 years, Sunday has been a prosecutor with the York County District Attorney’s Office and, prior to being sworn in as district attorney, served as the chief Deputy prosecutor of litigation.
Sunday said his approach to public safety resulted in a 30 percent decrease in crime during his first term; reductions in the prison population by almost 40 percent since its peak; a reduced supervision caseload; and a recent study conducted by IUP indicates that offenders in York have the lowest recidivism rate over a five-year period as compared to seven other counties. Additionally, since the implementation of York’s Early Termination of Probation Program, only 5 percent of the cases submitted recidivated within two years, resulting in a 95 percent success rate, now serving as a statewide model.
He has tried some 50 felony cases before juries and successfully prosecuted more than 10 of the most high-profile York County murders. Sunday has prosecuted multi-defendant gang murder cases and serves on the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing.
Sunday is married and lives in York County with his wife and son.
“I am thrilled with the experienced team that our State Committee has voted to endorse for the 2024 election,” said Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Lawrence Tabas, in a press release. “This team is committed, qualified, and prepared. We know they will be invaluable assets to citizens of the Commonwealth and the United States when they are elected in November.”
Along with Sunday for Attorney General, the state GOP has endorsed Dave McCormick for U.S. Senate, Treasurer Stacy Garrity, Auditor General Tim DeFoor.
Williams is already throwing punches.
“More than a year ago, the Republican lobbyists of Harrisburg and political establishment of Washington, D.C. picked their candidate for attorney general,” Williams said. “What they did not tell anyone was that they picked a Democrat in Dave Sunday. He runs his office like a progressive Democrat district attorney, rivaling Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner with his progressive policies of not prosecuting, letting people out of jail, and not seeking prison sentences. Sunday has allowed the City of York to become one of the most violent places in the commonwealth. He offers no contrast to the other Democrats in this race.”
John Gower, one of Sunday’s campaign managers, did not comment Monday night.
Williams has hired Mark Campbell, who served as campaign manager for Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in 2021, to oversee his campaign.
Williams retired from the Marines as a colonel after 28 years of service. During that time, he flew 56 combat missions in the F/A18D during the Gulf War. He was decorated 11 times, including twice for valor in combat.
Williams attended law school while in the Marines and became the chief prosecutor for the largest base in the Marine Corps. He also served as Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with an emphasis on ethics and detainee issues in federal court. He later served as a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice, focusing on gun crime, violent crime, and organized drug distribution cartels. He was also a prosecutor for the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
He represents portions of Delaware and Chester Counties in the state House.