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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The typically sedate race for Philadelphia District Attorney has become an intriguing contest this year as eight newcomers vie for a job that helps shape city policy on sanctuary cities, police use of force, prison reform and other national issues.

Seven are Democrats seeking to succeed two-term Democrat Seth Williams, who goes on trial next month in a federal bribery case. They include a Pakistani-American, a Cuban-American, a black Muslim and a white civil rights lawyer, Larry Krasner, who has defended Occupy Philadelphia and Black Lives Matter protesters and enjoys a nearly $1.5 million boost from liberal billionaire George Soros.

No clear favorite has emerged despite the Soros money and endorsements spread across the field from powerful local labor unions, influential black clergy and even pop singer John Legend (who backed Krasner in a tweet). The race comes as downtown Philadelphia enjoys a glittery building boom but many black and minority neighborhoods remain mired in deep poverty.

“We have a really diverse pool of people who have worked hard to raise a lot of money. … It’s going to be a really interesting race,” said former district attorney Lynne Abraham, who served from 1991 to 2010, and aggressively sought the death penalty in hundreds of murder cases.

Several candidates this year support prison and bail reform and prisoner re-entry programs, despite efforts under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to return to the era of long prison terms for drugs and other crimes. The winner of the Democratic primary will be a heavy favorite in the fall given the party’s near lock on city elections.

The other Democrats include:

— Joe Khan, a former city and federal prosecutor who wants to rethink low-level drug cases and the cash bail system while advocating for children and sexual assault and domestic violence victims;

— Rich Negrin, a former city prosecutor and city managing director who, at 13, saw his Cuban-born father gunned down by an anti-Castro group in Union City, New Jersey, in 1979; and

— Jack O’Neill, who is the youngest candidate at 35 but has spent a decade in the office as an assistant prosecutor.

Williams, who became the city’s first black district attorney in 2010, backed alternative courts for veterans and drug offenders but took a moderate stance amid a Supreme Court order to resentence 300 juveniles from Philadelphia serving life without parole. He is now accused of taking more than $100,000 in gifts in exchange for legal favors.

Tariq El-Shabazz, another Democrat in the race, did a stint as Williams’ top assistant. Like Williams, he has been plagued by financial problems that include $190,000 in tax liens.

The other candidates are Michael Untermeyer, who previously ran as a Republican; Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni, who once sparked criticism by comparing the alleged rape of a prostitute to a theft case; and Republican Beth Grossman, who switched parties.

One “juvenile lifer” released this year after serving 41 years in prison for a slaying committed when he was 17 was out canvassing on Election Day, urging voters to support justice reform efforts. Michael Twiggs, 59, was taking part in a project run by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“If we get a D.A. in place who will be somewhat compassionate, not so eager to throw lives away, who would be fair,” Twiggs said last week, “then I think that … we’ll be getting a better outcome.”