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Dem chief Brady: Party infighting is all in the family

Union boss John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty is mum on allegations he went after Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.

Congressman Bob Brady on April 16, 2007.  (Jessica Griffin/Staff photographer)
Congressman Bob Brady on April 16, 2007. (Jessica Griffin/Staff photographer)Read moreJessica Griffin / File Photograph

A POWERFUL LABOR leader who is also a big-time Democratic fundraiser allegedly warns an incumbent City Council member he'll spend $1 million to defeat him in the May 19 primary.

An incumbent Democratic councilwoman accuses her primary challenger of being a closeted tea-party racist - and she uses his alleged Facebook postings to prove it.

Her challenger fires back that the councilwoman hacked into his Facebook account, and now he's going to sue her.

With a little more than eight weeks left before city voters cast ballots in the Democratic primary, what does such infighting say about the Democrats in this heavily Democratic town?

"It doesn't say nothing about the party. You have this every year," a miffed-sounding U.S. Rep. Bob Brady said from Washington yesterday.

Brady, chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee, said the dust-ups actually speak to "the party's enthusiasm. We don't have rubber-stamp candidates. It's a family squabble and we put the pieces back together after the primary."

On Monday, sources told the Daily News and the Next Mayor that electricians union leader John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty approached Councilman Kenyatta Johnson at Sunday's St. Patrick's Day Parade and allegedly promised to "do everything he can to defeat him," including putting $1 million into the campaign.

Dougherty was prompted, the sources said, out of anger that Johnson's political patron, mayoral candidate state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, has not endorsed Dougherty's brother, Common Pleas Judge Kevin Dougherty, in his bid for a seat on the state Supreme Court.

Sources said Williams has not endorsed Judge Dougherty because of the belief that Johnny Doc "put up" former Councilman Jim Kenney to run for mayor against Williams.

Also Monday, the Daily News reported that 7th District Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez accused primary challenger Manny Morales of disrespecting just about every voting bloc a Democrat would need to get elected.

Dougherty, who denied threatening Johnson, declined to comment yesterday, said spokesman Frank Keel.

Williams said that other than endorsing himself and a handful of close political allies including Johnson and Sanchez, he has not made up his mind on any other candidates, including Kevin Dougherty.

"We're eight weeks from the election. We have a long way to go," Williams said.

Brady said he placed a call to Johnny Doc yesterday but had not heard back from him.

"We always have primary fights - always," Brady said.