Philadelphia’s Republican ward leaders upended their primary on Friday, announcing they would gather next week to reconsider their endorsement of ward leader Daphne Goggins for mayor.
Two days after Goggins got the local party’s nod in a vote, GOP Chairman Michael Meehan sent ward leaders an email calling for a “do-over” meeting on Monday. It followed a “Clout” column in the Inquirer that cited a Goggins rival complaining that she collects disability and does not hold a job.
The rival, defense lawyer Billy Ciancaglini, questioned whether someone on disability could “handle the rigors of being mayor.”
Ciancaglini, who switched to the Republican Party last year after running as a Democrat for judge, had been upset that no ward leader put his name in nomination during Wednesday night’s vote.
Goggins was the only candidate considered by the leaders and won the endorsement on a third vote after the first two votes went for an “open primary,” in which the party would have remained neutral.
In his email and later in an interview Friday, Meehan suggested that Goggins had used all the time in a candidate interview with ward leaders last week to tout her credentials.
“She dominated the thing and didn’t let anyone ask any questions,” said Meehan, adding that the party may vote to endorse no candidate on Monday.
Meehan’s email said disability is for people who are not “able to perform a job in the national economy.” The job of mayor qualifies as part of the national economy, he said.
He also said some ward leaders had complained that they were in the restroom Wednesday when the nomination vote was called.
Meehan compared that vote to an infamous referee’s call in the closing minutes of the NFC championiship last month between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. Unlike the NFL, Meehan said, the party should have “a further review for our mutual benefit.”
Goggins did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Friday. She had previously said she has been on disability for fibromyalgia since 2010 but still serves as a ward leader and volunteers for political work. Goggins also said in the “Clout” column, “If I become mayor, I’ll give up on the disability.”
Ciancaglini said he has spoken with a ward leader about putting his name up for the endorsement Monday. But he’s not expecting much.