A Philadelphia City Council candidate under fire over scores of racist, antigay and anti-poor people messages found on his Facebook page has been told by Democratic leaders that he has lost the party's support.

In response - and to save face - Emanuel "Manny" Morales sent a letter Thursday to the party chairman, U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, asking ward leaders to rescind the endorsement they had given him. He said he intended to continue as a candidate running against the Seventh District incumbent, Maria Quiñones Sánchez.

"It is not my intention to cause division in the party. I wish to conduct a campaign that unites ALL constituents of the district," Morales wrote to Brady. "I will . . . let the voters decide who is Manny Morales."

Brady said he told Morales that he had lost the support of party in light of the scandal, despite Morales' insistence that his Facebook page had been tampered with.

"I told him we're going to withdraw the endorsement and that he needs to do something about this," Brady said. "And the best thing for him to do is ask us to withdraw his endorsement."

Morales could not be reached for comment. He has scheduled a news conference for Friday to "make an announcement regarding the future of his candidacy."

Quiñones Sánchez, 46, in a statement, thanked party leaders "for affirming that the views expressed by Manny Morales are not in keeping with our core values of diversity and inclusiveness by withdrawing its endorsement for his campaign."

Brady revealed the letter from Morales after Quiñones Sánchez held a news conference calling on Brady and City Controller Alan Butkovitz, another party leader, to repudiate Morales' candidacy.

Butkovitz did, saying Morales should "probably withdraw from the race."

"I know he has said he had been hacked or that it was a forgery, but he has to show evidence," Butkovitz said. "If he can't produce evidence, he should get out."

Democratic mayoral candidate Nelson A. Diaz took the same position.

"As a former judge, I believe everyone has a right to mount a defense and make their case before passing judgment on damning charges," Diaz said Thursday in a statement.

But because Morales has not offered any evidence that his page was hacked, Diaz said, "I am asking Manny Morales to issue an apology and withdraw from this race."

Another mayoral candidate, State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, as well as Mayor Nutter and former Mayor John F. Street all have already spoken out about Morales' candidacy.

Quiñones Sánchez has published screen-grabbed images, of posts she says came from Morales' Facebook page, on a website she controls, www.meetmannymorales.com.

The website shows posts advocating drug testing for welfare recipients, voter ID laws, shutting down the border, and pro-gun legislation. They included derogatory statements about blacks, gays, and poor people, as well as dozens of conservative political comments that Quiñones Sánchez said do not align with Democratic values.

Morales responded by saying, "Anything that you find from my Facebook that has to do with any type of derogatory comments, have never been from me."

Quiñones Sánchez on Thursday derided Morales' response.

"He now further insults us by blatantly lying to us about his values and principles," she said. She called on party leaders to press for his withdrawal from the race, saying she intended to keeping "hammering" Morales on the Facebook issue if he did not.

"What we don't need now in Philadelphia is 60 days of further divisiveness," she said.

chepp@phillynews.com

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