Tuesday’s primary election showed the power of incumbency in Philly politics. Well, mostly. That’s the takeaway from an election where familiar names like Mayor Jim Kenney and the majority of incumbent candidates in City Council District races cruised on to the November general election. Then there’s Sheriff Jewell Williams and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who did not. We have the full recap at philly.com/elections. And, speaking of familiar names, there’s another Arcidiacono playing Villanova basketball, and he’s determined to carry on his family’s legacy.
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Sheriff Jewell Williams’ status as a ward leader and longtime party favorite didn’t help him hold off the rise of a former Philly cop or the baggage of three sexual harassment lawsuits. Williams finished a distant second in the sheriff’s race to Rochelle Bilal, who ran on cleaning up a scandal-prone office.
And former Deputy City Commissioner Tracey L. Gordon toppled Register of Wills Ron Donatucci in the Democratic primary, denying his bid for an 11th term in the office. The South Philadelphia politician has been the register of wills since 1980.
But Mayor Jim Kenney had no such problems. He scored an easy victory over two Democratic primary challengers he treated more as nuisances than as threats. Kenney used his victory speech Tuesday to tout his support for and from organized labor and his expansion of pre-K programs. And in Philly, a city that hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1948, winning the Democratic primary for mayor usually means a win in the general election, too.
It was the most crowded City Council primary field in 40 years, not to mention a slew of energetic contenders for Common Pleas Court judgeships and city row offices, but at the polls, it sometimes seemed that the candidates outnumbered voters.
You can view all the results from yesterday’s primary election here.
Isaiah Thomas, 34, and Kathy Gilmore Richardson, 35, were among the top five vote-getters in the Democratic primary for Council, all but ensuring an injection of youth to Council after a primary season that drew a surge in newcomer candidates.
Incumbent Helen Gym was the top vote-getter late Tuesday, with 106,000 votes. Allan Domb, and Derek Green had received 65,000 and 60,000 votes respectively.
The power of incumbency continued to show in the district races — like in the 2nd District, where Councilman Kenyatta Johnson held off Lauren Vidas, or in the 7th District, where Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez fended off arch-rival Angel Cruz, a longtime state representative, in a heated race.
Also on the ballot
Those four ballot questions? They were all approved overwhelmingly, striking a blow against snarled streets, while also clearing they way for the use of gender-neutral language for City Council and its members; making permanent the Office of Immigrant Affairs, created by executive order in 2016; and urging the state legislature to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
In the race for state Superior Court, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Dan McCaffery and Amanda Green-Hawkins, a Pittsburgh lawyer for the United Steel Workers union, led in the Democratic primary, while Megan McCarthy King, a deputy district attorney in Chester County and Cumberland County Common Pleas Court Judge Christylee Peck came out ahead for the GOP.
In a victory for the party establishment, incumbent Lisa Deeley and Omar Sabir won the two Democratic seats for Philadelphia city commissioner. Republican Al Schmidt was unopposed in yesterday’s primary.
A mix of incumbents and newcomers was poised to win party nominations for key county offices across Philadelphia’s suburbs last night. In Montco, Democratic Commissioners Valerie Arkoosh and Ken Lawrence Jr. easily won bids to keep their seats, while Republican Joe Gale, an incumbent, and Fred Conner held a late lead for the two GOP seats, followed by Gale’s brother, Sean, unofficial returns showed.
While in Chester County, Josh Maxwell and Marian Moskowitz were ahead in the race for two Democratic nominations for commissioner. Incumbents Terence Farrell and Michelle Kichline faced no opposition. In Bucks? Republicans Denise Bowman, Grace Deon, and Allen Toadvine were pulling ahead in nominations for County Court, according to unofficial results.
In Montco, voters also broke in the new paper ballot system — a response to a mandate from Gov. Tom Wolfe requiring votes with a paper trail ahead of the 2020 election. While some said they were relieved by a more secure system, others lamented the slowness and lack of privacy of the manual system, expressing nostalgia for the days of push-button machines.
It would be easy for Chris Arcidiacono to disappear in his brother’s six-foot-three shadow.
After all, with one of the most recognizable names in Philadelphia sports, Ryan Arcidiacono is a Villanova national champion-turned-NBA point guard — and for many years, Chris was regarded as Ryan’s skinny kid brother who tagged along at the games.
But basketball is Chris’ dream, too, and he’s determined to keep the family legacy alive, carrying on the lineage of “Villanova royalty.”
Now that’s a skyscraper. ☁️Thanks for the photo, @falseclimax.
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“They won’t have to second guess having majored in something that’s not a high-demand field. They won’t have to delay home ownership and starting families. Because of Smith’s generous offer, they are free to pursue social activism, teaching, and other low-pay but high-impact fields without being burdened with college debt. It’s a glorious step toward leveling the playing field for a historically disadvantaged group.” - Columnist Jenice Armstrong on tech billionaire Robert F. Smith’s gift to the Morehouse College class of 2019.