Incumbent Republican District Attorney Katayoun Copeland has accepted a challenge to debate Democratic candidate Jack Stollsteimer ahead of the Nov. 5 general election.

“At a time when there are so many threats to public safety, including epidemics of opioid abuse and gun violence, and when so many of our residents are questioning the fairness of our criminal justice system, a public debate on these and other issues is of vital importance to the public,” said Stollsteimer in a release.

“Having prosecuted more than 4,000 cases in her 25 years as a prosecutor in Delaware County and the federal level, District Attorney Kat Copeland would be more than happy to highlight her credentials, experience, and priorities in comparison to Jack Stollsteimer,” said Pete Peterson, a spokesperson for Copeland’s campaign.

Peterson said the campaign had already been exploring a copacetic time and location for the two to debate their experience and qualifications prior to the Democrat’s challenge issued Monday, and would reach out to the Stollsteimer team to set a place and moderator fair to both parties.

Stollsteimer is a former assistant United States attorney and assistant district attorney in Delaware County who most recently acted as state Deputy Treasurer of Consumer Programs and Public Engagement. He previously ran for state Attorney General in 2015.

Copeland is a longtime Radnor resident who previously served for 19 years in the Delaware County District Attorney’s office, stepping down as deputy district attorney in 2011 to take a post with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia.

She was appointed to fulfill former District Attorney Jack Whelan's unexpired term when he became a Common Pleas judge in January 2018.

Both candidates are graduates of Temple University’s Beasley Law School.

Stollsteimer recently accused of Copeland of misspending more than $75,000 in county funds on giveaway items branded with her name, such as fly swatters, back scratchers, stress balls and nail files.

Copeland shot back that taxpayers footed the bill for several excursions Stollsteimer took during his tenure with the state Treasurer's Office, including a five-day trip to attend an educational program at Disney World Resorts last year.

Republican and Democratic candidates for County Council will also square off for three debates next month. Council Chairman John McBlain and Vice Chairwoman Colleen Morrone are prevented by term limits from running again and Councilman Michael Culp will not to seek reelection, leaving three open seats.

Republicans Jim Raith, Mike Morgan and Kelly Colvin face off against Democrats Christine Reuther, Elaine Paul Schaefer and Monica Taylor.

County Council debates begin Thursday, Oct. 10, at Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Ave. in Radnor in a debate sponsored by the Delaware County League of Women Voters. The event is expected to last from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The second debate takes place from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Maris Grove with Jim Melwert from KYW Radio moderating. Only Maris Grove residents will be admitted to that event.

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