Philadelphia's Democratic machine is officially staying out of the mayor's race.

The party's longtime city chairman, U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, said Democratic leaders of the 69 wards were "split down the middle" on whom to endorse in the six-way May 19 primary field. He said the "lion's share" of support was for State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams and former City Councilman James F. Kenney.

"We're leaving it open," Brady said Thursday. The ward leaders met Saturday to vote on endorsements.

Brady said he did not want to spend money printing sample ballots that, because of ward leaders' various allegiances, would go to waste instead of into the hands of voters on May 19.

"If I give South Philadelphia a ticket with Tony Williams, they won't use it. If I give West Philadelphia a James F. Kenney ticket, they won't use it," Brady said.

The ward leaders, however, did agree on City Council endorsements. They are backing all the Democratic incumbents, except in the Seventh District - where they previously endorsed Manny Morales over incumbent Maria Quiñones Sánchez, but later backed off and are endorsing no one.

The party is also endorsing Sherrie Cohen for the open at-large seat.

As for printing sample ballots, Brady said each ward can tell the city committee its preference for the top of the ticket and receive sample ballots that reflect that choice.

While saying Williams and Kenney have the most ward-level support, Brady said former District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham will get some backing, likely in the Northeast.

The other Democratic mayoral candidates include former PGW spokesman Doug Oliver, former Common Pleas Court Judge Nelson A. Diaz, and former State Sen. T. Milton Street Sr.

The committee has often stayed neutral in past mayoral primaries. An exception was the five-way contest in 2007, when the ward leaders decided to back one of their own: Brady.