The 2019 general election is on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
Prior to each election, the Inquirer’s Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom, identifies the races where an endorsement can help readers understand where candidates stand on issues and why we think voters should support (or not support) a particular candidate. Then, the Board hosts meetings with candidates running in contended races.
We think all elections are important and try to cover as many as we can. In elections like the upcoming general election, with many races and candidates, we have to make the hard decision to limit our endorsements to highly competitive races. That means that unfortunately, we did not have the capacity to endorse in this year’s judicial races.
We take this job seriously and spend time researching the candidates’ backgrounds through the work of our newsroom colleagues as well as through our own reporting.
For this election, we relied heavily on the reporting we did in during the primary, which included research, in-person interviews, a candidate survey, and several events. (You can read a fuller description of that work in our primary election endorsement guide.) To supplement for the general, we conducted additional in-person and phone interviews with the remaining City Council At-Large candidates and with City Council District representatives in competitive races.
Sometimes, making an endorsement is an easy choice and sometimes there’s a lot of debate amongst our Board members. Sometimes, too, the choice is hard; when we prefer “none of the above,” or when we like more candidates than we get to pick. But we believe any choice is better than sitting out an election. We take care when writing each endorsement to walk you through our decision-making process so you know why we choose one candidate over another.
Here is a guide all our endorsements for the 2019 general elections.
Mayor Jim Kenney should cruise to an easy victory. He is being nominally challenged by Republican Billy Ciancaglini. We endorsed Jim Kenney in the primary, and support his vision for the city, including a pre-K program funded by a tax on sugary beverages.
City Council District Races
Council member Brian O’Neill is a titan in Philly politics. He was first elected to City Council in 1979 — the same year his challenger was born. We endorse change for the district, in the form of O’Neill’s challenger, Judy Moore.
The Editorial Board formally endorsed only in the 10th District, the most competitive race, in the general election. Here are other District races:
(* indicates incumbent)
Mark Squilla (D)* (endorsed in the primary)
Daniel Orsino (R)
Kenyatta Johnson (D)* (endorsed in the primary)
Michael Bradley (R)
Jamie Gauthier (D) (endorsed in the primary)
Curtis Jones (D) * (endorsed in the primary)
Matt Baltsar (R)
Karla Cruel (I)
Darrell Clarke (D)*
Bobby Henon (D)*
Pete Smith (R)
Maria Quinones Sanchez (D)* (endorsed in the primary)
Cindy Bass (D)*
Greg Paulmier (I)
Cherelle Parker (D)*
City Council At-Large
In the Democratic primary for City Council’s at-large seats, many first-time candidates took their shot at getting on the November ballot. In the end, voters chose compromise. On one hand, all three incumbents won reelection. On the other, voters also gave two millennials a place on the ballot which, in a city that leans 7-1 towards the Democrats, all but guarantees their election. But the race for the two minority party at-large seats is far from over, with five Republicans and seven Independents on the ballot.
With the decision of two incumbents not to run again, and a burgeoning independent movement, Philadelphia has a unique opportunity to have more than two parties represented in City Council.
The Inquirer endorses:
Kendra Brooks (I)
Allan Domb (D) *
Helen Gym (D) *
Katherine Gilmore Richardson (D)
Dan Tinney (R)
On November 5, voters will also vote on three ballot questions. Here are the Editorial Board’s recommendations:
Marsy’s Law: No
Charter change on contract bidding: Yes
In Philadelphia, voters will select judicial candidates for Municipal and Common Pleas Courts. We have not interviewed candidates, so we are making no endorsements in these races. However, the Philadelphia Bar Association has a rigorous vetting process, and we recommend you review their findings at judges.philadelphiabar.org
Their “highly recommended” candidates for Common Pleas court include James C. Crumlish, Anthony Kyriakakis, and Tiffany Palmer.
Voters will choose candidates for three “row offices,” the existence of which the Editorial Board has challenged in the past, arguing that their functions don’t’ require them to be elected offices.
In May’s primary, retired police officer Bilal unseated Sheriff Jewell Williams. She is running unopposed in the general.
Voters choose two:
Al Schmidt (R)
Lisa Deeley (D)
Omar Sabir (D)
The Editorial Board did not endorse Deeley in the primary, troubled by the fact she lost her notary license for improperly notarizing a document for a friend and initially lying about the circumstances to the Inquirer.
Register of Wills
Tracey Gordon (D) is running unopposed.