Every Friday from now until the primary (that’s May 19!) we’ll take a look at the past week to update you on who’s up, who’s down and what you absolutely need to know about the election.
Your six Democratic mayoral candidates spent the week pouring whiskey, hanging out on SEPTA and — not surprisingly — arguing with each over everything from race to policing. But here’s maybe the most important thing to know for this week, Monday is the voter registration deadline! Get on that if you haven’t already. Here’s a recap of the week in the mayoral race.
(Want up-to-the-minute updates on the mayor’s race as it evolves? Follow our story, and we’ll send you an email when news happens.)
Abraham spent the week playing video games and pouring whiskey, so no problems here. This, just a week after the 74-year-old candidate fainted on live television during a debate, sparking conversation about whether or not she’s healthy enough to move forward with the campaign. But since then, she’s been portrayed as nothing short of a fighter. However, Abraham was caught foot-in-mouth this week after her racially-charged words from 1990 came back to haunt her. Details on that below.
Diaz had a relatively quiet week, but did garner some attention when Al Dia News pointed out that Diaz — the only Latino candidate — is really the only candidate to be receiving any Latino endorsements or backing. This makes sense, but he’s also, according to Al Dia, “the only mayoral candidate to reach out to a diverse range of influential Latino officials.”
Kenney continues to rake in endorsements, and actually got a bit of win this week in that the Democratic City Committee *didn’t* endorse anyone. If they were going to, it was more likely to have gone to Anthony Williams. More on that later. Kenney also had another ad launch this week via a union-backed SuperPAC that’s showing news headlines and passing them as widespread praise for the candidate.
Doug Oliver has been known throughout this campaign as a longshot candidate, but a workhorse nonetheless. In an interview with Al Dia News, the candidate dropped some big numbers: He said he’s met upwards of 25,000 voters by riding SEPTA and talking to people on their daily commutes.
Meet the unbreakable Milton Street. The former state senator — who many say has no chance at winning in the May primary — survived a second challenge to his ballot position this week and a court ruled he can stay on the ballot. Street was challenged by folks associated with Tony Williams based on his residence and his party registration.
Williams was able to drum up some media coverage this week with his policing plan (more on that later) and through a live Q&A with Philadelphia Magazine. During it, Williams lamented that everyone has been complaining about his dark money backers but have let Kenney get off scot-free even though he’s being endorsed by union boss Johnny Doc. He also received a counter-endorsement from black leaders in Northwest Philly who wanted to endorse Williams, even after Kenney gained the endorsement of the Northwest Coalition last week.
However, Williams’ campaign took two hits this week: The first is that the Democratic City Committee didn’t endorse anyone, AKA not him. The second? Yeah, Milton Street’s still on the ballot — he’ll likely take some votes away from Williams’ base.
Philadelphia’s Democratic machine won’t be supporting anyone for mayor this year. According to the Inquirer, U.S. Rep. Robert Brady said leaders from across the city’s 69 wards were unable to come to a decision on who to support. Brady told the Inky that delegates were split down the middle, and the vast majority of the votes were for either former Councilman Jim Kenney or Sen. Anthony Williams.
The ward leaders were able to agree on endorsements for City Council, though. Read more about that here.
Who messed up
Lynne Abraham… 25 years ago. Abraham was quoted in 1990 by Philly Mag, and it’s coming back to haunt her this week after Al Dia unearthed the racially-charged quote. “There’s only one group of people who have problems with blacks more than whites in this city, and that’s Puerto Ricans,” Abraham apparently said during a meeting with a defense attorney.
Abraham responded this week, saying: “That was in 1997, this is 2015. And that was brought up in a political context by one of my opponents. I believe that my record on balance is inclusive, sensible, sensitive. I don’t pretend to speak for anybody else.”
Insult of the week
Tony Williams and Jim Kenney traded back and forth this week over what should happen to hateful cops. After Williams unveiled a policing platform that included firing officers who use hate speech, police union president John McNesby said “we would lose a decent amount of police” if that policy was put in place.
Williams called on fellow candidates to adopt the policy as well, and Kenney (endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police) found himself in a quandary: If he agrees with Williams, he pisses of the union, and if he agrees with McNesby, he looks like he’s cool with hateful cops.
Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt later said that Kenney and McNesby spoke and “and Jim said derogatory remarks by police officers were unacceptable and McNesby agreed.” She then called the policy “unclear.”
“It simply means we won’t tolerate hate speech,” a Williams campaign spokeswoman responded. “Mr. Kenney should not have to think about that.”
What people are pissed about
Everyone is mad about everyone else’s education plans. It’s been widely reported that current Mayor Michael Nutter isn’t a fan of any of the mayoral candidates’ education plans and think they’re all quick fixes that aren’t sustainable. Nutter’s administration doubled down on that this week, as Philadelphia Finance Director Rob Dubow told reporters, “they just don’t get the district what it needs.”
Of course, Nutter thinks his plan is the answer — raising property taxes by about 9 percent. No mayoral candidate in their right mind would openly endorse a plan to raise taxes… because goodbye, votes!
“I wouldn’t trade my position in the race with any other candidate.”
– Anthony Williams, regarding the fact that he definitely sees himself as the frontrunner, but wasn’t about to say it. Well, at least he’s upbeat.
The deadline to register to vote is Monday! Make sure you get it done. You can find information about how to do so here.