If you're not paying attention to the City Council races, it's about time to start.

With five members retiring and several more seats competitive, the next Council will have the most freshman members since 1991, when seven newcomers were elected.

The Daily News is breaking down everything you need to know about the competitive contests:


Open/contested: Councilwoman Joan Krajewski is retiring after eight terms in the district, which runs along the Delaware River from Port Richmond to Torresdale. Unlike the other open district seats this year, this post did not draw a crowd of candidates.

Who's running?

_ Bobby Henon, political director for the influential Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

_ Marty Bednarek, a banker, former ward leader and former member of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission.

Debate: 7 p.m. April 28, Tacony Free Library, 6742 Torresdale Ave.

Key issues: Bednarek is pushing his neighborhood roots, distributing campaign literature touting his role in local education and community sports groups.

Henon is hitting strong on issues like public safety and on how his union work has helped him play a role in job creation.

Who has the edge?

Local 98 is tough to beat when it brings the full force of its political might, including spending through a group of political-action committees. The union is using its muscle to forcefully encourage other pols to back Henon.

The race features big-name endorsements. Henon has former Gov. Ed Rendell and former City Controller Jonathan Saidel pulling for him; Bednarek has Krajewski and Mayor Nutter in his camp.

Republican Sandra Stewart is unopposed in her primary and will face the Democratic winner in November.

For other installments in this series, see www.philly.com/CouncilRaces.