Sabatina running again, faces primary challenge


State Sen. John Sabatina Jr. on Monday announced he’s running for a four-year term at Teamsters Local 107, at 12275 Townsend Road.

Sabatina (D-5th dist.) will face state Rep. Kevin Boyle in the April 26 Democratic primary. The Republican candidate is expected to be Ross Feinberg, a Rhawnhurst resident who ran for register of wills last year.

Ed Slater, vice president and business agent for Teamsters 107, introduced Sabatina, who told the crowd he has a 100-percent voting record in favor of organized labor.

Sabatina said that residents of the 5th Senatorial District pay one-third of the taxes that the city collects.

“What do we get up in Northeast Philadelphia? Prisons on the waterfront. Not if I’m re-elected,” he said.

Sabatina has not taken his pay since June because the state has failed to pass a budget. He wants to build up the Delaware River waterfront, improve public schools, increase police manpower and strengthen local businesses.

The senator is a graduate of Father Judge High School, West Chester University and Widener University’s School of Law. A former assistant district attorney, he was elected a state representative in 2006 and to the Senate last year. He lives in Rhawnhurst with his wife and young daughter.

Boyle, an Olney native, has been in office since 2011.

“I didn’t just move into the Northeast five years ago looking for a seat to run for,” Sabatina said in his announcement.

Boyle had lived in Fox Chase before moving to Bustleton.

“I didn’t move 10 months ago into the district to run for this office,” Sabatina said.


Meanwhile, Boyle celebrated his endorsement by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5. He and Sabatina addressed 107 members of the board of directors on the evening of Jan. 19.

Boyle prevailed, 72–34, with one ballot discounted because a director voted for both candidates.

FOP president John McNesby delivered the news to both candidates outside the room.

“I’m very happy, honored and proud,” Boyle said.

The FOP backed Boyle in his first race in 2010 before siding with primary challenger Dan Collins two years later.

In his remarks seeking the endorsement, Boyle noted that he voted for a bill that would delay police departments from releasing the names of officers involved in violent confrontations while an investigation is ongoing. Most Philadelphia Democrats voted against the bill.

Boyle credited the police department with keeping the murder rate low compared to New York, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. He mentioned he is a supporter of the Officer Daniel Boyle Scholarship Fund, started in memory of a slain cop. And he noted that he and his brother Brendan, a former state representative now in Congress, raised $6,000 for the FOP Survivors Fund by running basketball tournaments.

If elected, Boyle said he would bring sensible, pro-police sentiment to the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Sabatina was visibly upset, contending that McNesby led him to believe he would get the nod.

“It was a total shock to me,” he said of the outcome.

Sabatina was hopeful of winning the vote because of his incumbency, background as an assistant district attorney, support for pre-police legislation and his brother-in-law being a detective.

“I worked with thousands of cops. I have a law-and-order background,” he said.

Last year, Sabatina edged McNesby in a vote of ward leaders to earn the Democratic nomination in the 5th Senatorial District special election. He easily won that election, held to replace Democrat Mike Stack, who resigned to become lieutenant governor.

As for last week’s vote, Sabatina said most of the directors were simply following the lead of McNesby.

“It’s one union,” he said, adding that he still expects plenty of rank-and-file support.

McNesby promised strong support for Boyle.

“The membership spoke. We’re going to do everything we can do,” he said.


Jared Solomon, a Democratic candidate in the 202nd Legislative District, joined campaign volunteers in helping shovel snow off the steps and sidewalks of 60 senior citizens and disabled people in the district.

Solomon placed a robocall on Saturday, asking people to contact him if they needed help digging out from the storm.

Solomon, president of the Take Back Your Neighborhood civic association, is challenging Rep. Mark Cohen in the primary. Cohen beat Solomon by 158 votes in 2014.


Frankford resident and immigration attorney Joe Hohenstein will announce his campaign for the 177th Legislative District on Wednesday afternoon outside Simpson Recreation Center.

A Democrat, Hohenstein will challenge Republican Rep. John Taylor.

“I am running because I want to make our neighborhoods places we can be proud of again. I live in this neighborhood because it is where I am from and I care about this place more than any other place in the world,” he said. “The Republican Party has held our state hostage long enough. Our neighborhoods, our city and our commonwealth deserve better.”

Hohenstein favors abolishment of the School Reform Commission and said he would work to make sure Pennsylvanians aren’t asked to bear the burden of taxes while corporations — — especially the natural gas industry — — receive tax breaks.

“It isn’t right to ask our working families to pay more taxes, many of them struggling to stay afloat, while these companies avoid paying their fair share. A tax on fracking should be levied to help the state pay for infrastructure, schools and environmental protection,” he said.


Committee of Seventy CEO David Thornburgh last week released a statement calling for elimination of the city election commission, replacing it with appointed election professionals.

“As it’s been revealed over the last few years, and even the last few weeks, City Commissioner Anthony Clark’s behavior is embarrassing and insulting to the voters and taxpayers of Philadelphia. His conduct also has serious and damaging consequences for Philadelphia’s reputation in our state capital and around the country. At a time when the city needs political support from lawmakers from across Pennsylvania on important issues like school funding for our children, we can’t afford the perception that we tolerate and reward elected officials who can’t be bothered to show up for work. In similar fashion, this summer, the eyes of the world will be on Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention, and this stark example of a self-serving political culture will only create headlines for countless damaging stories about Philadelphia,” he said.

Thornburgh noted that every other county in Pennsylvania and big cities like Chicago use appointees, not elected officials, to run elections.

The Committee of Seventy is calling on members of City Council to begin the process that amends the Home Rule Charter to eliminate the three-member election commission.


The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is blaming U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey for playing a role in the pending layoffs at Cardone Industries Inc. sites at 5501 Whitaker Ave. and 5670 Rising Sun Ave.

More than 1,300 people will lose their jobs over the next two years at Cardone, an auto parts remanufacturer. The company’s brakes division will move to Mexico.

State Democrats contend that Toomey supports policies that help Wall Street and big business at the expense of the middle class.

“Our economy has suffered far too long because of the unfair trade policies coming out of Washington,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Chairman Marcel L. Groen.

“When senators like Pat Toomey support tax breaks for companies that move jobs abroad, he’s effectively signing the pink slip for thousands of hard-working Pennsylvanians. That he then votes against assistance and job-training programs for the unemployed is a twist of the knife. Toomey’s positions are at odds with what’s best for workers, and that’s because he cares more about Wall Street bankers than Pennsylvanian manufacturers.” ••