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Inquirer Editorial Board’s recommendations for 2019 Philly general election | Endorsement Guide

Who The Philadelphia Inquirer recommends you vote for on Nov. 5, 2019, when casting your ballot for mayor and City Council. (Plus: How to vote on ballot questions.)

Election Day in Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
Election Day in Tuesday, November 5, 2019.Read moreMatt Rourke / AP

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.

Got questions about this process? Email us at


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.

Read our full endorsement for 10th District candidate 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)

1st District:

  1. Mark Squilla (D)* (endorsed in the primary)

  2. Daniel Orsino (R)

2nd District

  1. Kenyatta Johnson (D)* (endorsed in the primary)

  2. Michael Bradley (R)

3rd District:

  1. Jamie Gauthier (D) (endorsed in the primary)

  2. No challenger

4th District:

  1. Curtis Jones (D) * (endorsed in the primary)

  2. Matt Baltsar (R)

  3. Karla Cruel (I)

5th District:

  1. Darrell Clarke (D)*

  2. No challenger

6th District:

  1. Bobby Henon (D)*

  2. Pete Smith (R)

7th District:

  1. Maria Quinones Sanchez (D)* (endorsed in the primary)

  2. No challenger

8th District:

  1. Cindy Bass (D)*

  2. Greg Paulmier (I)

9th District

  1. Cherelle Parker (D)*

  2. No challenger

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:

  1. Kendra Brooks (I)

  2. Allan Domb (D) *

  3. Helen Gym (D) *

  4. Katherine Gilmore Richardson (D)

  5. Dan Tinney (R)

Read our full endorsement for candidates in the at-large City Council race.

Ballot Questions

On November 5, voters will also vote on three ballot questions. Here are the Editorial Board’s recommendations:

  1. Marsy’s Law: No

  2. Bonds: Yes

  3. Charter change on contract bidding: Yes

Read the full explanation of why we made these recommendations for ballot questions.


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

Their “highly recommended” candidates for Common Pleas court include James C. Crumlish, Anthony Kyriakakis, and Tiffany Palmer.

Row offices

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.


Rochelle Bilal

In May’s primary, retired police officer Bilal unseated Sheriff Jewell Williams. She is running unopposed in the general.

Read more on the sheriff’s race in our May 2019 Primary School series, which shed light on smaller offices.

City Commissioners

Voters choose two:

  1. Al Schmidt (R)

  2. Lisa Deeley (D)

  3. 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.

Read the full primary endorsement for City Commissioners.

Register of Wills

Tracey Gordon (D) is running unopposed.

Read more on the register of wills in our May 2019 Primary School series, which shed light on smaller offices.