Turahn L. Jenkins will challenge incumbent Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. in 2019, according to a statement released Monday by his campaign.
Jenkins currently serves as the chief deputy director in the Allegheny County Public Defender’s office. His resignation goes into effect at the close of business Monday, according to a spokesperson for the campaign.
In addition to his role at the public defender’s office, Jenkins also serves as an adjunct professor at the Duquesne University School of Law and teaches a public defender clinic. He previously worked as an assistant district attorney.
Jenkins graduated from Gateway Senior High School in Monroeville and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from Duquesne.
His campaign made an official announcement at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Freedom Corner in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.
Jenkins will run against 20-year incumbent Zappala, who was appointed by county judges to serve the last two years of the term of Robert E. Colville Sr. after he was elected to the Common Pleas bench.
Zappala went on to win a four-year term in 1999. The Democrat ran unopposed in November 2015 and was re-elected to a fifth term. Campaign finance reports show that his campaign spent nearly $400,000 that year.
Zappala waged an unsuccessful campaign for attorney general in 2016, losing a Democratic primary race to former Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, who now holds the office.
Zappala’s campaign had over $44,000 in the bank at the end of 2017, according to campaign finance reports.
Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at [email protected], 724-850-2867 or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.