PHILADELPHIA - The top federal prosecutor in Philadelphia appointed by Donald Trump has written to the former president to seek his endorsement in a crowded Republican primary race to run for governor in next year's election.
William McSwain's letter, dated Friday, was released Monday night by Trump even before McSwain has publicly declared his candidacy.
McSwain has told Republicans in Pennsylvania that he is serious about running, and makes his intentions plain in the letter. He also makes the claim that he is uniquely positioned to beat Democrat Josh Shapiro, the state's two-term attorney general who has said he plans to run for governor.
"I will be the Republican candidate for Governor with the best chance to win the general election in November 2022," McSwain wrote. He goes on to say that "I would be honored to have your support" and "I hope to see you soon."
In the letter, McSwain claims that his office ‘received various allegations of voter fraud and election irregularities.’ He added that then-U.S. Attorney General William Barr instructed him not to make any public statements on those allegations and to pass along any serious allegations to Shapiro for investigation.
"As part of my responsibilities as U.S. Attorney, I wanted to be transparent with the public and, of course, investigate fully any allegations. Attorney General Barr, however, instructed me not to make any public statements or put out any press releases regarding possible election irregularities. I was also given a directive to pass along serious allegations to the State Attorney General for investigation – the same State Attorney General who had already declared that you could not win," read McSwain's letter. "I disagreed with that decision, but those were my orders."
McSwain does not detail any of the allegations of fraud or irregularities during the 2020 election that he claims to have received in the letter. He does, however, highlight a case his office charged in which a former judge of elections in Philadelphia admitted to accepting cash bribes to tamper with the results of the city's primary elections from 2014-2016.
McSwain's campaign confirmed the authenticity of the letter. McSwain started a fundraising committee after returning to private practice in January.
Among those who have declared their candidacy is Lou Barletta, the former four-term congressman who was the party’s nominee for U.S. Senate in 2018 before he lost to Democrat Bob Casey, and Charlie Gerow, who runs a communications and marketing firm in Harrisburg and is vice chairman of the American Conservative Union.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.