Philadelphia Democrats on Tuesday chose Cherelle Parker as their party’s mayoral candidate, the Associated Press reported.
Parker will win the general election in November when she faces Republican Richard Oh.
The winner will become the 100th mayor of the city. Philadelphia is overwhelmingly Democratic and has not elected a Republican mayor since the 1950s.
About 66% of the plots reportingCherelle Parker led with 32.89% of the vote, and Rebecca Rinehart was second with 22.33%.
Democrats also retained their majority in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Tuesday, according to the AP, thanks to a Democratic victory in a closely watched special election.
Philadelphia mayoral election before election day
Recent polls showed five Democrats — Parker, Rinehart, Helen Gimme, Alan Domb and Jeff Brown — with a chance to win, including three women who could become the city’s first female mayor. In April, a non-partisan party The Committee of SeventyThe poll found all five in a statistical tie.
In accordance with CBS Philadelphia, the poll found that one in five Democratic voters were still undecided. All five leading candidates campaigned hard ahead of the primaries.
Philadelphia and the National Democrats
Philadelphia, the nation’s sixth-largest city by population, is a key city for Democrats nationally in the volatile state of Pennsylvania. President Biden won Pennsylvania by about 80,000 voteswith the majority coming from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and surrounding suburbs.
“This is one of the few states that was very close to the 2020 election, and I think for the Democrats in Pennsylvania, the main challenge for the mayor is not only to run the city, but to drive the turnout, to get them to poll in the presidential race ” said William Drexel, a professor of political science at Drexel University.
National Democrats have been keeping an eye on the state, with Mr. Biden endorsing Heather Boyd, a candidate in a special General Assembly race that also took place on Tuesday. According to the AP, Boyd won her race, defeating Republican Kathy Ford and helping Democrats retain a slim majority in the state House of Representatives.
Democrats took control of the Assembly in November for the first time since 2010, but state Rep. Mike Zabe resigned in March after being accused of sexual harassment. While Zabe’s former district is in an increasingly blue suburb of Philadelphia, Democrats have taken no chances in Boyd’s race, raising more than $1 million since April.
Republicans hold a majority in the state Senate.
Philadelphia’s most expensive mayoral race in history
Philadelphia’s mayor’s fight has become the most expensive in the city’s history, according to The Philadelphia Inquirerwith two candidates — Derek Green and Maria Quiñones Sánchez — dropping out because the price of the race was too high.
More than $14 million of the $24 million spent came from two wealthy candidates who funded their races, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Domb, a real estate developer, has contributed $10.2 million to his race, while Brown, the owner of a Philadelphia grocery chain, has contributed $3 million to his campaign.
The other two leaders, Jim and Rinehart, raised about $2 million each. Parker raised $1.7 million.
Problems in the mayor’s office
The main issue in the race is crime, though all the candidates broadly agree on how to deal with it. Poverty and quality of life were also major issues.
“You have this real discontent, more than I think is normal,” said Richardson Dilworth, chair of Drexel’s political science department and author of “The Reformation of Philadelphia 1682-2022.” Of Mayor Jim Kenney, he said: “Fairly or unfairly, the current mayor has just been pilloried for not doing much — hiding and things like that.”
Dilworth said there is a need among voters to feel “at home in some ways.”
Candidates for mayor
Parker, a former Philadelphia City Council member, has been endorsed by many ward leaders and other local political leaders. And Mayor Kenney also said he voted for Parker. She was the only black candidate left in the race, and 44% of the city’s population is black. Parker won the support of many leaders in the black community.
Gimme, a former teacher, community organizer and city councilman, was a progressive in the race. And she got a boost from two of the most prominent progressives in the country last week, with Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Acasio-Cortez both campaigning for her.
Rinehart, meanwhile, has been endorsed by major Democratic figures, including former mayors Ed Rendell and Michael Nutter, as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer. Rinehart is a former Philadelphia comptroller and is looking to make a name for himself in politics.
While all three women garnered union support, Brown received the coveted endorsement of the city’s largest municipal union.
Because the May primary falls in a non-election year, turnout was expected to be low. Candidates tried to increase their support at polling stations. Sanders in his speech on Sundaytold voters that “I have no doubt that Helen will be the next mayor of Philadelphia” if everyone in the crowd voted and brought a few friends or family to the polls.