Bucks County government’s former solicitor is running for Pennsylvania attorney general.
NewtownPANow.com reported in February that solicitor Joe Khan was going to step down from his county job and was considering a run to be the state’s highest-ranking law enforcement official.
On Wednesday morning, Khan, a Democrat from Doylestown Borough, announced his bid for the seat.
“I’m running for Attorney General to continue my lifelong fight to keep people safe, tackle corporate and political corruption, and build a better world for our kids,” said Khan.
Khan, of Doylestown Borough, is the second Democrat to throw their hat in the ring for the 2024 Democratic primary. Former Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced his desire to be the state’s next attorney general last week.
Several other Democrats are rumored to be mulling over a run for the office.
In his announcement video, Khan stated that if elected, he would focus his efforts on keeping Pennsylvanians safe, tackling corporate and political corruption, and making the state better.
“As the son of a Muslim immigrant and Catholic nurse who grew up in a Jewish neighborhood, I know that government has to work for everyone. As a prosecutor, I’ve taken on the toughest challenges: gun violence, sexual assault and hate crimes. As a solicitor, I’ve defended our democracy from Donald Trump, stood up for abortion rights, and sued Big Pharma, Big Tech and polluters to hold them accountable. I’m running for Attorney General to continue my lifelong fight to keep people safe, tackle corporate and political corruption, and build a better world for our kids,” he said.
In his announcement press release, Khan received positive words from a sexual assault survivor he represented, State Sen. Nikil Saval, Chester County’s prothonotary, State Rep. Josh Siegel, and former Montgomery County Democratic Committee Chair Joe Foster.
Khan served as the county government’s top lawyer starting in early 2020 after the new Democratic-majority on the Bucks County Board of Commissioners took office. He resigned in April amid word he was considering running for attorney general.
Khan was a visible presence for the commissioners and advised the governing body on the county’s allotment of the $45 million opioid settlement and the county’s fight over PFAS contamination. He also was behind the county’s effort to sue social media companies.
Khan has faced opposition while in county government from parent activists Megan Brock and Jamie Walker Cohen, who have criticized Khan and the commissioners over the county’s 2021 COVID-19 mitigation policies and the law department’s appeals of their Right To Know requests. He also was criticized by former Republican Commissioner Andy Warren for being a partisan and an “attack dog.”
During his time in county government, Khan led the Bucks County Law Department and its $1.6 million budget. He oversaw creation of the department, which serves as general counsel for the commissioners – two Democrats and one Republican – and represents all county departments, when the county moved from a system of part-time attorneys and outside law firms and moved to creating a full-time office. The commissioners have said the move has saved taxpayers money. The attorney also had oversight on the Bucks County Department of Consumer Protection and Weights and Measures and the independent Bucks County Public Defender’s Office.
Khan attended Swarthmore College and the University of Chicago Law School, where he studied under then-Professor Barack Obama. Khan worked for Obama’s congressional campaign before being employed as a Philadelphia city prosecutor for six years and a federal prosecutor for a decade.
The Philadelphia-native ran for district attorney 2017, but he lost in the Democratic primary to Larry Krasner. Khan came in a second place.
Current Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, and former Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, were elected to the state’s executive job after serving as attorney general.
Current Attorney General Michelle Henry is Bucks County’s former district attorney and has said she won’t run for attorney general in 2024.