The Democratic Primary Is Actually the General Election: Democrats outnumber Republicans in Philadelphia by a seven-to-one margin. Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney (D) is term limited, and about a dozen Democratic candidates have tried to win the seat. (Republicans have fielded just one candidate, David Oh.)
The next mayor may be one of its most liberal: Five Democratic candidates are considered to have a realistic chance of winning. They span the range from moderate to moderate, and it is possible that one of the more moderate candidates wins. This would be a significant victory for the Left. While Philadelphia is a deeply Democratic city, its leaders have traditionally been established Democrats. Top candidates are:
- Helen Jim is a former teacher and city councilor and activist whose supporters have dubbed her the “Philly AOC” after her rape. (Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) were set to campaign for Jim.) He is perhaps the most liberal in the race. His supporters watch the Chicago mayoral race, where Lliberal activist brandon johnson won last month, as a blueprint for how to turn Philadelphia to the left.
- Rebecca Rinehart is a former city treasurer who has cast herself as a no-nonsense technocrat and has the support of three former mayors.
- Cheryl Parker is a former state legislator and city councilman who is supported by much of the city’s black political establishment and has made herself particularly tough on crime.
- Alan Dombs is a former city councilman and Philadelphia landowner who owns hundreds of properties in the city and has been dubbed the “Condo King”.
- Jeff Brown is a wealthy owner of ShopRite grocery stores around Philadelphia, known for opening grocery stores in food deserts in the city, and the only candidate with no political experience.
Crime is by far the top issue: Philadelphia is crippled by gun violence. More than 500 homicides a year have occurred in recent years, more than double the amount a decade ago. A recent survey found that two out of three city residents have heard gunshots in their neighborhood in the past year. Recently, a candidate for the post of mayor shot and killed another candidate. “My whole point of view is that you can basically say that Philadelphia is hell on earth,” said Zuleyka Torres, 27. Said in that survey.
SSome of the top candidates taking the tough-crime approach are: Philadelphia is one of several liberal cities that have mostly given up on discussions to reallocate funds from police departments to community services. (After the death of George Floyd in 2020, Philadelphia residents took to the streets to protest police brutality, and leaders furloughed millions from the police department.)
Now almost all the top candidates want to put more police on the road. Maura Ewing, a Philadelphia-based freelance journalist, said, “Defunding the police in this cycle is a toxic concept.” who wrote about the race for bolts magazine,
Several top candidates, like Parker, say they want to reinstate City’s Passive Stop and Search Policy, It’s a controversial police practice that allows police to stop and search pedestrians, which critics say increases racial profiling – and for which the city has been under court scrutiny for the past decade, a judge said. Said police overused the policy on black and brown people.
That idea was criticized by Rinehart, who objected She doesn’t think the city should “regress back to racist ‘law and order’ policies.”
Domb have cried the city’s “culture of lawlessness” and said he would declare a crime emergency on the first day. There’s a huge debate about whether to essentially ban teens from downtown malls after school, and where the money will come from to refresh and reopen community centers and libraries.
The Democratic Party in Philadelphia is divided: Previous mayors have stood in support of Rinehart, while various unions have spread among the other candidates. It looks like Jim has a clear lane as the progressive candidate.