Goggins, endorsed Republican mayoral candidate, drops out of race

Daphne Goggins, the endorsed Republican candidate for mayor, dropped out of the race  on Monday night, a day before nominating petitions are due.

Goggins, a ward leader and party activist, needed 1,000 valid nominating petitions to be on the ballot.

Despite having the endorsement, she was expected to lose the May 21 primary to lawyer Billy Ciancaglini, who is running a much more aggressive campaign.

In a Facebook Live video, Goggins said she collected 329 signatures on her own and had a total of 731. Even if she reached 1,000, she would have had to beat back a challenge from Ciancaglini as to whether she had the minimum number of valid signatures of registered Republicans.

Goggins blamed ward leaders and committee people in the Northeast and South Philadelphia for sinking her campaign. There aren’t enough Republicans in other parts of the city, she said, to get to 1,000 petitions.

Goggins’ claim has validity. As she noted, Northeast ward leaders scrambled last year to collect 1,200 petitions in a week for congressional candidate David Torres when their original candidate dropped out.

Goggins resigned as Republican leader of the 16th Ward and said she will not support Ciancaglini.

She thanked, among others, Torres, her campaign manager; treasurer Mike Tomlinson; and ward leader Mike Cibik.

The Democratic primary is expected to feature Mayor Jim Kenney, former City Controller Alan Butkovitz and, possibly, state Sen. Anthony Williams.

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Taras Smerechanskyy, Democratic candidate in the 10th Councilmanic District, last week held a fundraiser at the Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center.

Smerechanskyy is one of two Democrats seeking to challenger Republican Councilman Brian O’Neill. Each candidate was required to file 750 valid nominating petitions by Tuesday, after the Times went to press.

Smerechanskyy is expected to face Judy Moore, a Garces Events executive and committeewoman in Ward 66-B, in the May 21 primary.

A Bustleton resident, he came to the United States in 2000 at age 9. He works as a financial auditor.

Among those attending his fundraiser was John Sabatina Sr., Democratic leader of the 56th Ward.

Iryna Mazur, Ukrainian Federation of America vice president and chairwoman of its advocacy program; Taras Smerechanskyy; Roman Petyk, associate general counsel at Penn; and campaign manager Steve Cross.

The candidate was introduced by Steve Cross, his campaign manager and a retired Philadelphia police inspector. Cross noted that the 10th Councilmanic District includes three police districts (the 2nd, 7th and 8th). He told the crowd that those districts have roughly 100 officers apiece, while some other districts across the city have from 150 to 250.

Cross also pointed to O’Neill’s tenure. The councilman was first elected in 1979.

“He can’t continue much longer, obviously,” Cross said.

In his remarks, Smerechanskyy called for Council members to be limited to three four-year terms. O’Neill is seeking his 11th term.

“We need change,” the candidate said.

Smerechanskyy said his top priority is public school investment, followed by roads, safety and quality-of-life issues in the 10th district.

“We’re not receiving equal allocation of city services,” he said.

Specifically, he wants to improve school infrastructure and the teacher-to-student ratio, arguing that an educated young person will be more likely to get a good job and less likely to commit crime.

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State Rep. Jared Solomon has decided to direct $30,000 in past campaign contributions to three organizations doing work in the 202nd Legislative District.

Solomon, elected in 2016, accepted a $5,000 contribution from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers a year earlier. In April 2016, he accepted $25,000 from the Concerned Irish Americans political action committee, which is largely funded by Local 98.

Two weeks ago, Solomon called on City Councilman Bobby Henon to resign because of the federal corruption charges he faces. The state lawmaker described Henon as a puppet of John Dougherty, longtime head of Local 98.

Frank Keel, Local 98’s spokesman, attended Solomon’s news conference and asked if he would be returning the $5,000. A few days later, Concerned Irish Americans treasurer Brian Eddis demanded that Solomon return the $25,000 from his group.

Eddis wrote, “As Treasurer of the Concerned Irish Americans (CIA) Political Action Committee, I am writing you today to express our organization’s disgust at your recent and unjustified public statements regarding Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon and IBEW Local 98 Business Manager John J. Dougherty, two people we consider to be dear friends. We cannot believe that you, as an attorney, could so cavalierly ignore due process and the presumption of innocence over guilt, two basic tenets of the legal profession, when you lambasted Councilman Henon and Mr. Dougherty before they’ve even had their day in court. It was a disgraceful, grandstanding performance.”

Eddis, Democratic leader of the 63rd Ward, ordered Solomon to immediately send a $25,000 check to the Stanwood Street headquarters of Concerned Irish Americans.

Eddis said the PAC’s lawyer would get involved if Solomon did not pay up.

“You should remove our organization from your mailing list, as we will no longer be supporting your campaigns for political office,” Eddis ended the letter.

Solomon has decided to give $10,000 apiece to three organizations.

Legacy Tennis will teach the sport to kids at recreation centers in his district.

The Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association will create a success lab at Laura H. Carnell Elementary School where students can go to de-escalate, learn coping strategies and participate in individual or group therapy sessions.

HIAS Pennsylvania, which supports immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, provides mental health services that are culturally and linguistically accessible to immigrant kids in the Northeast and English as a Second Language classes that allow for health professionals to address complex trauma issues. ••