Cherelle Parker Wins the Democratic Mayoral Primary in Philadelphia

After a crowded primary, Cherelle Parker, a former state representative and City Council member who campaigned for more police hiring, won the Democratic nomination for mayor of Philadelphia on Tuesday night, emerging convincingly from a field of vying contenders to be seen as a savior. from struggling and discouraged city.

If she wins in November, that's for sure in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than seven to one, Ms. Parker will become the city's 100th mayor, and the first woman to hold the job.

Of the five mayoral candidates who led the polls in the last round, Ms. Parker, 50, is the only black candidate, in a city where more than 40 percent are black. He had the support of leading Democratic politicians and unionists, and across majority black neighborhoods in north and west Philadelphia. Some have compared him to Mayor Eric Adams of New York City, noting his willingness to stand up to party progressives with promises to hire hundreds of police officers and bring back what he calls a constitutional stop-and-frisk.

But he says that many of his proposed solutions are rooted in “medium environment— a working and middle class area that has struggled in recent years to contain the downturn.

“They know it wasn't Cherelle involved in what I would call ‘I know what's best for your policymaking, but it's coming from the ground up,' said Ms. Parker on Tuesday morning at the polls at his headquarters in northwestern Philadelphia.

Solutions have to come from people, he said, “not people who think they have come to save poor people, people who have never walked in their shoes or live in neighborhoods with high levels of violence and poverty. I have lived it.”

Ms. Parker did not attend his own victory party on Tuesday. The campaign to the Philadelphia Inquirer that he had emergency dental surgery last week, and issued a statement saying he needed urgent medical attention at the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday night for “recent dental problems.”

Her Republican opponent in November's general election will be David Oh, a former City Councilman.

If Miss Parker wins in November, she will take control of a city that is facing a number of problems, among them a spike in gun violence that has left hundreds of people dead year after year. Philadelphians routinely describe crime as the city's No. 1 problem. 1, but the list of problems is long, including collapsing school facilities, a damaged housing stock, the opioid epidemic, and the city's understaffing.

The list of punitive challenges has exhausted current mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat whose second term was hit by Covid-19, citywide protests and soaring homicide rates, and who has spoken out publicly. of his desire to finish his work.

The first man to succeed Mr. Kenney was jammed from the start and remained so into his last days. Up until the last poll, no leading candidate had emerged and five candidates appeared to have nearly equal chances of winning, each representing a different constituency and a different part of the city.

Candidates at the finish line include Rebecca Rhynhart, a former city superintendent with a technocratic undertone who was endorsed by several previous mayors; Helen Gym, a former councilor who has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders and other progressive figures; Alan Domb, who made millions in real estate and served two terms on the City Council; and Jeff Brown, a grocery store magnate and newcomer to electoral politics.

The early days of the race were dominated by TV commercials supporting Mr. Brown and Mr. Domb, but other campaigns soon joined and in the final weeks the ad wars grew more aggressive. The SuperPAC spent millions on behalf of various candidates and eventually became its own problem, when the Philadelphia Ethics Council accused Mr Brownleading the race's preliminary polls, coordinating illegally with the SuperPAC.

But for all the money and negative campaigning, no candidate seems to have emerged above the crowded square for Philadelphians busy with their everyday lives.

“People have options fatigue,” said State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta, a Democrat, who on Tuesday chatted with local candidates and politicians as they packed traditional Election Day lunches at Southern restaurants and jazz clubs.

In the last opinion polls before the election, a large number of voters remained undecided, but many of them seem to have finally voted for Ms. Parker, whose victory was bigger than many thought.

Moderate wins like Ms. Parker's Philadelphia is different from several other races across the state. In Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located, progressives picked up one major victory after another Tuesday, with candidates from the far left of the Democratic Party winning nominations for a variety of top offices, including county executive and district attorney.

Democrats also held their slim control of the Pennsylvania House on Tuesday, as Heather Boyd won the special election in southeastern Delaware County. Top Democrats, incl President Biden And Governor Josh Shapirohas encouraged the race, framing it as essential to protecting reproductive rights in Pennsylvania.

In a separate special election, Republicans held a secure state House seat in north-central Pennsylvania when Michael Stender, a school board member and firefighter, won his race.

Neil Vigdor, Mike Ives and Jon Hurdle contributed reporting.