Former City Councilman Jim Kenney on Wednesday said his resounding victory Tuesday night in the Democratic primary election for mayor showed that "people want a positive campaign."

Kenney was eager to prove that, heaping praise upon Melissa Murray Bailey, the Republican who won her party's nomination for mayor in an uncontested primary.

"I've seen her work throughout the course of this whole campaign, going to forums when she was unopposed and doing a good job, stating her case," he said. "I have the utmost respect for her."

Kenney predicted a civil and respectful general election in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 7-1.

But his tone changed noticeably when he was asked about a potential independent run for mayor by former Councilman Bill Green.

"If he wants to run, he can run," Kenney said flatly. "It's America. So . . ."

There was a pause, a space in time in which the old Jim Kenney - known for Twitter tirades and angry outbursts - might have smack-talked Green.

"I'm the disciplined Jim Kenney," he finally said when asked to elaborate about Green. "No. I'm good. I'm good. I'm good."

A campaign staffer hovered nearby, asking reporters if they had questions about "anything besides Bill Green?"

Green and Kenney had a contentious relationship when they served together on Council, often exchanging sharp words about legislation and policy.

Green resigned from Council in February 2014 to become chairman of the School Reform Commission. He was appointed by then-Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican who last year lost his bid for a second term to Gov. Wolf.

Wolf removed Green as chairman in March. Green switched his party registration to independent one week later, prompting speculation about his general-election intentions.

Green, who is still one of five SRC members, on Wednesday said it would be easy to just congratulate Kenney but his focus is still very much on education in the city. "Ultimately, my decision will come down to that touchstone and a clear-eyed view of the prospects," Green said.

While Kenney shrugged off Green, Rep. Bob Brady, the city's Democratic Party chairman, predicted that if Green were to run, he would lose by 85 percent to 90 percent.

"I wish he would," Brady said of Green's possibly running for mayor. "We'll have a chance to show what we can really do when we're behind one person."

Brady will host a "unity breakfast" with the city's Democratic ward leaders next Wednesday at Kenney's request.

Kenney and Bailey lunched together Wednesday at the Broad Street Ministry and afterward spoke under a vaulted church ceiling and stained-glass windows to a crowd of people there for a free lunch.

One of them was Wolf.

Kenney, who made his Jesuit-led education at St. Joseph's Prep a key theme of his primary campaign, said he was taught that people can't really be happy unless they live their lives to help others. He said Philadelphians should look upon the homeless like neighbors who sometimes need help.

Democrats traditionally gather on the Wednesday after elections at the Palm restaurant, two blocks from the church on South Broad Street.

The Rev. Bill Golderer, Broad Street Ministry's convening minister, thanked Kenney and Bailey for taking the "principled course to be here among the community" after the election.

Kenney added a small caveat about the Palm.

"I'm very glad and proud to have changed the paradigm of postelection lunches from the Palm to the Broad Street Ministry," he said. "On my way back to the office, I'm going to stop by [the Palm] and wave. But I wanted to be here first."

At the Palm, elected officials and political players gave Kenney a standing ovation as he entered. He seemed relaxed, telling a reporter who asked whether he was getting feedback about the election: "It's better than losing."

Kenney took 56 percent of the Democratic vote, winning every section of the city except West Philadelphia, the home base of State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, who finished a distant second with 26 percent of the vote in the six-candidate primary.

Kenney said the margin of victory was a surprise.

"I thought we'd win," he said. "I didn't think it was going to be that big of a margin. I'm grateful for it."

215-854-5973 @byChrisBrennan