There will be new faces on Council
BOBBY HENON, Mark Squilla, and Cindy Bass succeeded in the biggest game-changing City Council race in decades. State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson, meanwhile, was clinging to a small lead in his Democratic primary race.
BOBBY HENON, Mark Squilla, and Cindy Bass succeeded in the biggest game-changing City Council race in decades.
State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson, meanwhile, was clinging to a small lead in his Democratic primary race.
Following a hard-hitting battle to dethrone incumbents and snag five open seats, the incoming City Council has the most new faces since 1991, when seven new members were elected.
It's unclear how the latest slate of council newbies will affect Mayor Nutter's legislative agenda. All but one of the candidates Nutter endorsed won - Martin Bednarek lost to Henon in Council's 6th district - which Nutter needs to improve his bumpy dealings with Council.
But political pundits say that may not be the case.
"You don't necessarily have that person's vote just because you endorsed them," said Zack Stalberg, of the Committee of Seventy. "Generally speaking if you endorsed the winner you're better off than if you endorsed the loser.
"But politics are day by day sometimes, an hour-by-hour thing. None of these alliances hold up well under pressure. It has to be a long time alliance."
Political consultant Larry Ceisler said that the newcomers will be highly optimistic and that Nutter's ability to match his agenda to their aspirations will help him.
"As a City Council person you want to be able to show independence and in some ways going in there and changing the world," said Ceisler. "It's about how Nutter's legislative agenda will match up with those goals."
Here's a look at primary winners and losers:
Freshman City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez easily dispatched challenger Dan Savage, whom she ousted from City Council in 2007.
Quinones-Sanchez, a longtime community organizer has been a pioneer for change including pushing for legislation that made the city responsible for paying police and sanitation workers for parades and festivals.
Savage, a ward leader, was endorsed by the district's ward leaders. He also was endorsed by a majority of ward leaders during a special election in 2006, after Rick Mariano was sentenced to federal prison on corruption charges. He won that election.
The city electricians union displayed its political prowess in the 6th District in Northeast Philadelphia, with a primary victory for Henon, political director of Local 98, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Henon succeeded over Bednarek, a banker and former member of the School Reform Commission, for the seat being vacated by retiring Councilwoman Joan Krajewski. Bednarek, who was endorsed by Mayor Nutter, ran negative ads against Henon, noting his close ties to 98's controversial business manager, John Dougherty.
But in the end Henon, who had backing from former Gov. Ed Rendell, beat him handily with more than 60 percent of the vote.
Cindy Bass, who is a longtime aide to U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and who ran and lost four years ago, took the cake yesterday in the 8th District, which stretches from Northwest to North Philadelphia, including parts of Nicetown, Tioga, Germantown, Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy.
"I feel great," Bass said following her victory. "I'm energized and ready to get to work."
She added that she has to get through the November election and that if she wins, she plans to unite the district.
She defeated William Durham, Robin Tasco, Greg Paulmier, Andrew Lofton, Howard Treatman and Verna Tyner.
The race for the 1st district, which covers parts of South Philadelphia, Center City, Old City, and the river-ward neighborhoods to the north, began when a group of would-be hopefuls challenged DiCicco, who had considered re-election, for his participation in the controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan, known as DROP.
Last night Mark Squilla, a systems analyst for the state Auditor General's Office and president of the Whitman Council, a South Philly community group, came out on top.
"It feels wonderful," said Squilla, adding, "I want to work with the current City Councilman DiCicco to help reform City Council."
Squilla, whom Nutter endorsed, beat Vern Anastasio, Joe Grace and Jeff Hornstein. He is unopposed by a Republican challenger.
The 2nd District, which covers parts of South Philadelphia, Point Breeze, the Graduate Hospital neighborhood and Center City, was up for grabs since Council President Anna Verna, who has been in office since 1976, is retiring.
State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson maintained a slight lead last night over Barbara Capozzi, a real-estate broker.
Johnson is serving his second term in a district that stretches over sections of South and Southwest Philly. Johnson has worked on youth antiviolence efforts and has a master's degree from Penn.
Tracey Gordon, a block captain and community organizer in Southwest Philly, who clashed with local Democratic leaders when they refused to seat her as a committeewoman, was defeated.
Republican City Councilman Brian O'Neill won re-election and will face Democratic challenger Bill Ruben in November.
At-large Council race
The five incumbents Blondell Reynolds Brown, Wilson Goode Jr., Bill Green, Bill Greenlee and Jim Kenney beat the 10 challengers in the Democratic race for At-Large seats in City Council.
As for the Republican At-Large race, City Councilman Frank Rizzo, 67, lost in his attempt to gain a fifth term, running without the GOP endorsement and facing heavy criticism for his participation in DROP.
The five winners were: David Oh, 51, an attorney who came very close to winning an at-large seat in 2007; state Rep. Denny O'Brien, 58, former speaker of the state House; Joseph McColgan, 48, a financial manager who previously ran for the U.S. House; Al Taubenberger, 57, the GOP nominee for mayor in 2007 and head of the Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and Michael Untermeyer, 60, a former candidate for D.A.
The minority party is guaranteed two at-large seats.