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Republican Daphne Goggins drops out of Philly mayor’s race

Daphne Goggins, the North Philly ward leader endorsed last month for mayor by the Republican City Committee, has withdrawn from the primary election, one day before the deadline to file nomination petitions.

Daphne Jenkins Goggins.
Daphne Jenkins Goggins.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

Daphne Goggins, a runaway train of a candidate for Philadelphia mayor who won the Republican City Committee’s endorsement, brought her campaign to an abrupt stop Monday.

The GOP ward leader withdrew from the race through a nine-minute Facebook Live video one day before the deadline to file nomination petitions to get on the May 21 primary ballot.

She had to give the speech twice. On the first run-through, static rendered much of it inaudible. What did come across was clear dissatisfaction with the local Republican Party, which Goggins said gave her “no support” as a candidate.

“I began to realize the rumors about the Philadelphia Republican Party just might be true,” said the party’s first endorsed African American candidate for mayor. “The Philadelphia Republican Party is not ready at this time to support a minority candidate. They have no plan on how to embrace and move into the minority community.”

Goggins said she got only 731 signatures on her petitions because GOP ward leaders in South and Northeast Philadelphia would not circulate them. A candidate for mayor needs 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

Michael Meehan, chairman of the Republican City Committee, on Monday said Goggins had not told him of her plans. Meehan had called for a “do-over” vote on the party’s endorsement last month, less than a week after Goggins won it.

That came after defense attorney Billy Ciancaglini, a Democrat-turned-Republican candidate for mayor, criticized Goggins for collecting federal disability payments since 2010. Goggins inadvertently fueled that controversy by telling The Inquirer that she would “give up on the disability” if she was elected mayor, sparking derisive social media posts.

Goggins then threatened to sue if the party voted to reconsider her endorsement. She survived the do-over and kept the endorsement when the ward leaders convened again. Meehan and Goggins, after that meeting, said her disability did not come up.

Less than a week later, Goggins gave an interview to the conservative news site the Daily Caller and said her disabilities were anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder that emerged after she gave up cocaine in 2005.

Republicans in Philadelphia were agog at things Goggins said in that interview, including that she “truly believes that God disabled her” to let her focus on volunteering in her community rather than working at a job. She also said she was “not absolutely sure” she was ready to reenter the workforce if elected but could rely on her cabinet, “the people who mostly do the work.”

Goggins first gained minor celebrity as part of CNN panels of supporters of President Donald Trump, where she shrugged off suggestions of inappropriate behavior toward women by the president and floated a conspiracy theory that a violent clash between white nationalists and counterprotesters that claimed a woman’s life in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 was “a hoax.” She then declared CNN “fake news” for questioning her theory.