Northeast vote proves decisive in Taubenberger win

Al Taubenberger

Fox Chase’s Al Taubenberger is a city councilman-elect, and he has the Northeast to thank, according to a review of vote totals in the local 14 wards.

Millbrook’s Denny O’Brien will be exiting Council, but he can’t complain too much about how he fared in the Northeast.

There were 14 candidates in the City Council at-large race. The top seven finishers are elected. The five Democrats are always shoo-ins, based on their voter-registration advantage.

The four independent and minor-party candidates finished well behind.

That left the five Republicans to battle for the last two seats. The candidates were listed in order of how they finished in the primary. Incumbent David Oh was listed first, followed by O’Brien, Terry Tracy, Dan Tinney and Taubenberger.

Unofficial results from all 1,686 divisions showed Oh leading the way with 34,405 votes, followed by Taubenberger (34,270), O’Brien (33,834), Tinney (31,514) and Tracy (27,754).

In the 14 Northeast wards, the winner was Taubenberger, who recorded 19,348 votes. He was followed by O’Brien (18,495), Tinney (17,289) and Oh (13,676).

Oh, however, surpassed Taubenberger and O’Brien with votes in liberal and minority wards. In wards headed by Democratic heavyweights Bob Brady (34th), Jannie Blackwell (46th), Marian Tasco (50th) and Michael Nutter (52nd), Oh outpolled O’Brien by 963 votes, and his citywide winning total was just 571. In Tasco’s 50th Ward, Oh clobbered O’Brien, 673–166.

O’Brien, a longtime state representative, was battered in robocalls, newspaper ads and mailings by Tinney. The Tinney campaign noted that O’Brien receives a state pension and collects his Council salary; voted for the infamous 2005 legislative pay raise; and was first elected state representative the same year (1976) that Jimmy Carter was elected president.

Taubenberger celebrated his victory at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5. He was joined by, among others, former state House Speaker John Perzel and former 57th Ward Democratic leader Frank Conaway.

Taubenberger, the former longtime president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, said one key to victory was being a full-time candidate and working “every single day.”

“I met as many people as I could, and I had a good team around me,” he said.

Since winning, Taubenberger has been busy attending to his wife Joanne’s “honey-do” list.

“I’ve got to get it done between now and swearing-in day,” he said.

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Democrat Helen Gym finished first among the 14 candidates for Council at large. Gym was followed by fellow Democratic challengers Derek Green and Allan Domb and incumbent Democrats Blondell Reynolds Brown and Bill Greenlee.

An education activist, Gym issued the following statement:

“Today, the voters have spoken. I am humbled and proud to enter office with a vote of confidence from a diverse coalition of Philadelphians from every neighborhood, big and small, and to those nationwide who paid attention to and supported this race. My campaign finished how it started, as a grassroots movement for change, knocking on 6,000 doors, making 27,000 phone calls and raising more money through small donations than any Council or Mayoral candidate during the primary.

ldquo;Everywhere I went in this campaign, voters demanded a City Council that focused on public education and a growing, sustainable economy for all Philadelphians, especially our most vulnerable. Those voices were heard. These communities that carried me on their shoulders to victory will be walking through the doors of City Hall with me in January. Our work has only just begun.”

••

Northeast voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot question establishing an Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs.

However, the measure passed citywide by a count of 58 percent to 42 percent.

In the 14 Northeast wards, the question went down to defeat in 11 of them. The only wards backing the question were the 23rd, 54th and 62nd, and they did so narrowly.

Mayor Michael A. Nutter released the following statement thanking Philadelphians for voting to make permanent the Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs.

Mayor Michael Nutter issued the following statement:

“On Tuesday, nearly 86,000 Philadelphians made their voice heard and voted in favor of amending the Philadelphia City Charter to make permanent the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, which works tirelessly on behalf of our great City’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. This was a historic and unprecedented move to institutionalize the decades of advancement, advocacy, equality and inclusion for our LGBT citizens championed in this city by community activists, allies and government officials.

ldquo;The establishment of a permanent LGBT Affairs office ensures that Philadelphia will remain a national leader for municipal equality and that through policy and practice City-wide the rights of every citizen will be protected and supported. While this is a great step forward, we still have work to do to achieve true equality, equity and inclusion.

ldquo;From my time as a Councilman through my tenure as Mayor, I’ve fought proudly on behalf of LGBT citizens. I want to thank Philadelphia’s voters for embracing the diversity that makes our city a great place to live, work and visit and for improving the lives of all residents, today and in the future, with their vote.”

••

Some Northeast wards also went against the citywide tide in the race for sheriff.

While incumbent Democratic Sheriff Jewell Williams captured 79 percent of the vote against Republican Chris Sawyer, the challenger won the 58th, 63rd, 64th and 66th wards.

••

Common Pleas Court Judge Idee Fox cruised to another 10-year term with 76 percent of the vote in her retention race.

However, in the 64th Ward, voters rejected her, 62 percent to 38 percent.

Fox is the judge who overturned a Zoning Board of Adjustment decision, allowing a methadone clinic to move into 7900 Frankford Ave. (at Decatur Street).

••

Democrats will likely have a primary to determine their nominee in the 170th Legislative District, represented by Republican Martina White.

Republicans, too, might have a primary.

Eddie Stine, Republican leader of the 66th Ward, created a Facebook page indicating that he would be running for state representative. The page also included a map of the 170th district.

The page is now called “Eddie Stine” and no longer includes the map.

Sources say Stine has resigned as ward leader. The Times was unsuccessful in reaching him for comment. ••