By Joe Holden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the City of Philadelphia continues to grapple with escalating gun violence, the race for district attorney is heating up. The hotly contested primary race will come to an end next Tuesday.

It is coming down to the wire. How close are the two men running for the job incumbent and his challenger? Well, polling to this point has been a secret.

READ MORE: Former Eagle Malcolm Jenkins Endorses Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner For Re-Election

One week out from the May 18 primary, the already hot race for Philadelphia district attorney is intensifying. Both candidates are pushing their platforms, seeking out the undecideds and voters still on the fence.

The incumbent, Larry Krasner, spoke about polling in the race.

“That looks pretty good for me,” Krasner said.

That polling has not been made public.

The DA’s Democratic challenger is Carlos Vega, a former assistant district attorney and veteran homicide prosecutor. He grabbed an endorsement Tuesday from Ed Rendell.

“The horrible increase in gun violence is seemingly going unchecked,” Rendell said.

The former governor says while he often avoids criticizing those who’ve succeeded him in the office, he found the 25 shootings and seven homicides this weekend cause to back a candidate.

READ MORE: Ahead Of May Primary, District Attorney Race Showing How Philadelphia Politics Can Be Rough, Tumble

Vega, at an event where body bags represented homicide victims, said, “I need to make our community safe because it is horrific that every day last year, a parent got a knock on their door that their child was killed. And we’re seeing it happening again, I need to make it safe and bring in reform. We have to do both.”

How can we move forward with this aspect of criminal justice reform and bring down those numbers of shootings and homicides?

“You know, first of all, my office has a conviction rate that’s nearly 85% for fatal and non-fatal shootings,” Krasner said. “And that is the crisis we face. Of the 50 largest cities in the United States, they all had an average 42% increase in gun violence last year.”

Those averages are already exceeding that level in 2021, CBS3 reported extensively on Monday.

The campaigns have grown increasingly bitter.

Vega has endorsements from the FOP and some city wards.

Krasner’s campaign shows the backing of labor unions, elected officials and dozens of
wards. He argues investment in prevention will bring crime stats down.

Vega draws a line between bringing reform, balanced with keeping people safe.

Chuck Peruto Jr. is running on the Republican ticket. He entered the race saying from his website, “the city is overrun by bullets flying from every section of town.”