By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The two candidates getting ready for next week’s election for Philadelphia District Attorney showed up at Masterman High School for a debate, but they never faced off.

They fielded a few questions, after which students assumed their campaign narratives.

Democratic nominee Larry Krasner and Republican Beth Grossman exchanged pleasantries, huddled briefly with their student counterparts who were stepping in for them, answered a few student questions, and then ceded the stage.

Then, two students squared off in the personae of Krasner and Grossman, after their two Senior AP Government classes did the grunt work of a campaign, researching issues, assembling campaign managers, pollsters – even war rooms.

Standing behind podiums at either end of the stage, Clara Pritchett, pushing Krasner’s cause, and Lua Beckman, pretending to be Grossman, met halfway and shook hands.

img 9210 District Attorney Candidates Attend Mock DA Debate

(L-R): Beth Grossman, Lua Beckman, Clara Pritchett, Larry Krasner. (credit: Steve Tawa)

One of the questions centered on the $1.5 million that wealthy investor George Soros gave to a super PAC supporting Krasner. Clara, speaking in the first person, responded by saying “I have never actually met Soros.”

“The money that he gave my campaign was an independent expenditure, kind of a parallel campaign, like running ads, and other things that support my campaign, but it did not go directly into my campaign’s finances,” Clara said.

On behalf of Grossman, Lua was asked why Grossman changed her party affiliation to Republican, after being a longtime Democrat.

“Running as a Republican is a statement of separation of corruption that we’ve seen of 15 Democrats charged with corruption in the past three years,” said Lua.

The event was held in front of the entire high school assembly. The goal of the process was enhancing the students’ political awareness, some of whom will be voting for the first time on Nov. 7.

The day before the actual election, the mock campaign culminates in a high school election.

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