The Times takes a look at last week’s election results and analyzes the final numbers.
City Controller Alan Butkovitz did well, but not nearly well enough, in the Northeast’s 14 wards in last week’s Democratic primary.
Butkovitz, who lives in Castor Gardens, won 10 wards, while challenger Rebecca Rhynhart won four: the 35th 41st, 53rd and 64th.
Overall, Butkovitz took 53 percent of the vote in the Northeast.
However, that wasn’t enough of an edge to overcome Rhynhart’s strength in wards near Center City and Chestnut Hill. The challenger took 66 percent to 76 percent of the vote in the 5th, 8th, 9th, 15th and 30th wards.
Citywide, Rhynhart rolled to victory, beating Butkovitz, 58 percent to 41 percent.
In a statement the day after the election, she said, “I am so grateful to my supporters for their commitment to my campaign over the last few months, and am honored to now be the Democratic nominee for city controller. Our message was centered around making city government work better for Philadelphians through efficiency, transparency and collaboration, while providing a vision for the future of Philadelphia. I am humbled that this message resonated with voters so strongly. I’d like to express my gratitude to Alan Butkovitz for his gracious call last night and, more importantly, for his record of public service. My campaign is already looking ahead to the general election, and I look forward to working together to move the city forward.”
In the general election, Rhynhart will face Republican Mike Tomlinson, who was unopposed in the primary. Tomlinson has been a CPA, teacher, youth sports coach and member of Town Watch, Holmesburg Civic Association and the Friends of Holmesburg Library.
Rhynhart resigned as the city’s chief administrative officer to run.
Mayor Jim Kenney, who was neutral in the primary, said he “saw firsthand that Rebecca is capable of making government more efficient and effective.” Kenney thanked Butkovitz for his service, adding that Philadelphia is better off because of his leadership.
Meanwhile, Larry Krasner easily captured the Democratic nomination for district attorney, defeating six opponents and becoming the heavy favorite to win the general election.
Krasner had 38 percent, followed by Joe Khan (20 percent), Rich Negrin (14 percent), Tariq El-Shabazz (12 percent), Michael Untermeyer (8 percent), Jack O’Neill (6 percent) and Teresa Carr Deni (1 percent).
Beth Grossman, a longtime former assistant district attorney and onetime chief of staff for the Department of Licenses and Inspections, was unopposed in the Republican primary.
Krasner, a veteran civil rights attorney, benefited from $1.45 million from a political action committee funded by liberal political activist George Soros.
Reaction to Krasner’s victory came in fast and furious.
Republican Party of Pennsylvania chairman Val DiGiorgio took note of the anti-police chants by some of Krasner’s supporters at his victory party.
“In nominating Larry Krasner for district attorney, Philadelphia Democrats have selected a left-wing, anti-law enforcement radical who would make Philadelphia streets more dangerous. In doing so, they have added to a dangerous anti-police atmosphere in our country. The chants at Larry Krasner’s victory party attacking our brave police officers are disgusting and despicable, and frankly scary. Their profanity-ridden chants show the current state of Philadelphia’s Democrat Party — a party that lacks a moral compass and has zero respect for law enforcement. This George Soros super PAC-backed extremist — who is even further to the left than Mayor Kenney — is a threat to Philadelphia’s police officers and the city as a whole. Unlike Philadelphia Democrats and Larry Krasner, the GOP honors our men and women in uniform. We respect and support their admirable profession. As someone who was born and raised in South Philadelphia, I ask all Philadelphians who stand with our police officers to join the Republican Party and reject radical Larry Krasner.”
Rashad Robinson, spokesman the for Color of Change PAC, said, “Larry Krasner’s win today is a victory not only for Philadelphians who want safety, justice and progress for their city, but a victory for all Americans resisting the Trump administration’s backward criminal justice policies. This is a tide-turning election. At a time when Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to reignite the discriminatory and failed drug war, Philadelphia can be a beacon to the nation of what real criminal justice reform looks like.”
Krasner did not do so well in the Northeast, finishing fourth in the combined count of the 14 wards.
Negrin led the way in the Northeast with 22 percent of the vote, followed by Khan (20 percent), O’Neill (18 percent), Krasner (17 percent), Untermeyer (15 percent), El-Shabazz (5 percent) and Deni (3 percent).
Krasner won the Frankford-based 23rd Ward, the Lawncrest-based 35th Ward and the Oxford Circle/Castor Gardens-based 53rd Ward.
Negrin won the 58th, 64th and 66th wards.
Khan won the 41st, 54th and 63rd wards.
O’Neill won the 57th, 62nd and 65th wards.
Untermeyer won the 55th and 56th wards.
In other races, Philadelphia Democrats chose nine nominees among 27 candidates for Common Pleas Court.
The leading vote-getters were Stella Tsai, Vikki Kristiansson, Lucretia Clemons, Deborah Cianfrani, Zac Shaffer, Deborah Canty, Shanese Johnson, Mark Cohen and Vince Furlong.
Cohen and Furlong were not endorsed by the Democratic Party, which saw five of its preferred candidates lose the primary.
Cohen, of Castor Gardens, celebrated the victory just a year after losing his state House seat.
Furlong, of Somerton, is a Republican who cross-filed in the Democratic primary. He was appointed to the bench but needs to be elected to a 10-year term.
Philadelphia Democrats also nominated two candidates for Municipal Court. The winners were Marissa Brumbach and Matt Wolf.
Statewide, Democrat Dwayne Woodruff and Republican Sallie Mundy were unopposed and will meet in the general election for a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Endorsed Democrats Maria McLaughlin, Carolyn Nichols, Debbie Kunselman and Geoff Moulton were the winners in a five-way race for Superior Court.
The Republican winners were three endorsed candidates — Craig Stedman, Emil Giordano and Wade Kagarise — and Mary Murray, who was not endorsed.
Among six Democratic candidates battling for two seats on Commonwealth Court, the winners were Ellen Ceisler and Irene Clark. Todd Eagen, the only candidate who was endorsed by the state party, was fourth.
Republican candidates Paul Lalley and Christine Fizzano Cannon were unopposed.
Philadelphia voters approved two proposed amendments to the Home Rule Charter.
One proposal would allow certain city contracts to be awarded through a “best value” process instead of to the “lowest responsible bidder.” It passed with 69 percent of the vote.
The other proposal would create a commission to coordinate community reinvestment strategies. It passed with 71 percent of the vote.
The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed the Thin Blue Line Act, which would make the murder of a police officer, firefighter or other first responder punishable by death.
The measure, timed for National Police Week, passed 271–143. It was supported by 223 Republicans and 48 Democrats. In opposition were four Republicans and 139 Democrats, including Reps. Bob Brady and Brendan Boyle.
The bill, sponsored by Florida Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan, expands the aggravating factors when a jury considers a death sentence in federal cases.
Killing a federal law enforcement officer is already considered a factor for the death penalty. The bill passed last week would include state and local police officers, firefighters and first responders in that category.
The ACLU and NAACP opposed the bill.
The House also approved the Probation Officer Protection Act by a vote of 229–177.
The bill would allow federal probation officers to arrest people without warrants if they forcibly assault or obstruct them during their official duties. Probation officers can arrest probation violators under current law, but not other individuals who interfere with them.
The act was supported by 192 Republicans and 37 Democrats, including Boyle. In opposition were 33 Republicans and 144 Democrats, including Brady. ••