Voters will head to the polls Tuesday to elect new members of City Council and state Senate and nominate candidates for state and federal office.
The top local race is the special election in the 5th Senatorial District. Democrat Jim Dillon faces Republican Sam Oropeza. The seat has been vacant since the beginning of the year, when John Sabatina Jr. resigned to become a Common Pleas Court judge. Republicans control the Senate, 29-20.
As for the 6th Councilmanic District seat, vacant since Bobby Henon resigned in January, Democratic state Rep. Mike Driscoll is the only candidate.
Statewide, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is not running for re-election. The Democratic candidates are Alex Khalil, Conor Lamb, Malcolm Kenyatta and John Fetterman. The Republicans are Kathy Barnette, Mehmet Oz, George Bochetto, Jeff Bartos, Dave McCormick, Sean Gale and Carla Sands.
Gov. Tom Wolf is prohibited from seeking a third term. Democrat Josh Shapiro is unopposed in the primary. The Republican candidates are Lou Barletta, Doug Mastriano, Nche Zama, Dave White, Melissa Hart, Bill McSwain, Charlie Gerow, Joe Gale and Jake Corman.
There are three Democrats running for lieutenant governor: Austin Davis, Ray Sosa and Brian Sims. Nine Republicans are running. They are Clarice Schillinger, James Jones, Rick Saccone, John Brown, Chris Frye, Jeff Coleman, Russ Diamond, Carrie Lewis DelRosso and Teddy Daniels.
In the 2nd Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle and Republican Aaron Bashir are unopposed.
State Sen. Tina Tartaglione is unopposed in the primary and general elections. So are state Reps. Martina White, Ed Neilson, Jason Dawkins and Jared Solomon.
In the 172nd Legislative District, Bob Stewart is challenging Rep. Kevin Boyle in the Democratic primary. The Republican candidate is Al Taubenberger. Independent Tedi Kotori is also running.
In the 173rd Legislative District, which Driscoll is vacating to run for Council, Democrats Pat Gallagher and Pete McDermott are squaring off in the primary. There is no Republican candidate.
In the 177th Legislative District, Democratic Rep. Joe Hohenstein and Republican Mark LaVelle are unopposed.
In the 203rd Legislative District, the Democratic candidates are Yusuf Jackson, Anthony Bellmon and Heather Miller. No Republican filed.
City voters will also be asked the following four questions:
Shall the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to revise the composition of the Zoning Board of Adjustment by increasing the number of mayoral appointees from five to seven; by requiring Council confirmation of the mayor’s appointments; and by specifying qualifications that appointees must possess, including a demonstrated sensitivity to community concerns regarding development and the protection of the character of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods?
Should The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to remove all gender-based references?
Should the Educational Supplement to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to remove all gender-based references?
Should The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to establish the Fair Housing Commission as an independent commission to administer and enforce statutes and ordinances concerning unfair rental practices and certain other matters concerning the landlord and tenant relationship and to adjudicate disputes related to such matters?
Bill McSwain, a Republican candidate for governor, met with supporters Friday night at Cannstatter’s. The crowd included ward leaders and legislative candidates Sam Oropeza and Mark LaVelle.
McSwain said the race is down to four candidates, including him. The others are Doug Mastriano, Lou Barletta and Dave White.
A former U.S. Attorney, McSwain spoke of his opposition to heroin injection sites, sanctuary cities and no-excuse mail-in ballots, support for voter ID, updated voter rolls, school choice and increased funding for police and prosecution of rioters and the alleged killers of police Sgt. James O’Connor. Terri O’Connor, the slain SWAT member’s widow, introduced McSwain at his campaign kickoff and appears in a TV ad for him filmed in her home.
McSwain calls District Attorney Larry Krasner “my mortal enemy.” He has proposed a constitutional amendment that would have the governor appoint Philadelphia’s district attorney. The proposal would have to pass the House and Senate in two consecutive sessions, then be approved by state voters, as soon as the May 2023 primary.
“That would pass overwhelmingly,” he predicted.
And if it does pass?
“Krasner’s out of here by May,” he said.
McSwain blamed the city for misplaced priorities, citing the plastic bag ban at a time of a high murder rate.
The winner of the primary will face Democrat Josh Shapiro, the state attorney general, who is unopposed. McSwain called Mastriano, “Josh Shapiro’s hand-picked candidate,” pointing to the Democrat’s TV commercial and mailer that includes statements about Mastriano intended to endear him to Republicans voters.
McSwain predicted he would beat Shapiro by double digits. ••