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Candidates file, now it’s time for petition challenges and ballot positioning

Candidates for office in the May 21 primary filed nominating petitions last week, and now hope for good ballot position in a random drawing.

Some candidates will also have to beat back challenges to their petitions.

Mayor Jim Kenney filed 24,260 petitions. He’ll face former City Controller Alan Butkovitz and state Sen. Anthony Williams in the Democratic primary.

South Philadelphia lawyer Billy Ciancaglini is the only Republican candidate for mayor. The endorsed candidate, ward leader and party activist Daphne Goggins, was unable to collect enough petitions. Some Republicans tried to recruit retired Aramark executive Martin Welch as a late entry, but he declined.

In the race for City Council at-large seats, the Democratic and Republican parties nominate five candidates apiece. Independents and third-party candidates are also able to run in the general election. The top seven finishers in the fall are elected.

There are 34 Democrats running, along with seven Republicans.

Councilman Bobby Henon (D-6th dist.) and Republican challenger Pete Smith, former president of the Tacony Civic Association, are unopposed.

Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez (D-7th dist.) will face state Rep. Angel Cruz in the primary. There is no Republican candidate.

Councilwoman Cherelle Parker (D-9th dist.) will face Archye Leacock and Bobby Curry in the primary. There is no Republican candidate.

Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.) is unopposed in the primary and awaits the winner of the Democratic primary between Judy Moore and Taras Smerechanskyy.

In the race for three seats on the city election commission, incumbent Al Schmidt is the only Republican candidate. Thirteen Democrats, including chairwoman Lisa Deeley, of East Torresdale, are in the race. The top two Democrats will advance to the general election.

Register of Wills Ron Donatucci has two Democratic primary challengers, Tracey Gordon and Jacque Whaumbush. No Republican is running.

Sheriff Jewell Williams has three Democratic primary challengers: Rochelle Bilal, Malika Rahman and Larry King Sr. No Republican filed.

Philadelphians will elect six judges to Common Pleas Court and one to Municipal Court.

Forty-one Democrats and one Republican filed for Common Pleas Court. The only candidate to cross-file in both primaries was Beth Grossman, the 2017 Republican candidate for district attorney.

Thirteen Democrats and no Republicans filed for Municipal Court.

Multiple people filed for both courts, and most will stay only in the race in which they have better ballot position.

Statewide, voters will elect two candidates to Superior Court.

The four Democratic candidates are Beth Tarasi, Amanda Green-Hawkins, Ryan James and Dan McCaffery, a Common Pleas Court judge from East Torresdale.

The three Republican candidates are Christylee Peck, Megan McCarthy King and Rebecca Warren. Peck and King have the GOP endorsement.


City Council last week adopted legislation introduced by Councilwoman Cherelle Parker (D-9th dist.) that will put a question on the May ballot regarding increasing Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage of $7.25 – the same as the federal minimum wage – has been unchanged for the last 10 years.

The referendum would ask voters to amend the Home Rule Charter to call upon the General Assembly to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 or alternatively to allow the City of Philadelphia to increase the minimum wage in Philadelphia.

“Raising the minimum wage will increase incomes for tens of thousands of working families in Philadelphia, allowing them to afford basic necessities,” Parker said. “By moving this referendum forward, we will allow Philadelphia voters to send a strong message to the General Assembly using the ballot box.”

The city cannot increase the minimum wage alone. Philadelphia is preempted by PA State Act 112 from passing any minimum wage law, which means that minimum wage changes must occur at the state level.

The Rev. Greg Holston, executive director of POWER, said, “As people of faith, we know that all work is valuable and all workers have dignity. Paying anything less than a living wage is wage theft. Pennsylvania is the only state in the region paying the shameful federal minimum wage of $7.25. Philadelphia should have the right of self-determination to raise the minimum wage and address the dire poverty that exists here, which disproportionately affects the city’s black and brown residents. We urge Philadelphians to vote yes on Resolution 190115.” ••

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