💡 Get Philly smart 💡
with BP’s free daily newsletter

Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.

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.

After a string of mayoral forums, a televised debate and a new poll, we may have a new front runner, folks. Also this week! In this roundup, we’re including MyIdol computerized dancing versions of every candidate. (Because why not? Click here to see a video of our current mayor gyrating to “Sexy Back.” Sorry in advance.) Let’s get into the week in review.

(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.)

Stock Watch

Lynne Abraham
Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.19.01 PM

Lynne Abraham performed well in the televised debate this week and is hanging with her two biggest contenders, according to a new poll. But she’s spent more time than anyone backtracking on things said or decisions made during her time as district attorney, and this week was no different. More on that later.

Abraham also got some shade thrown at her from the Philly police union boss (who is backing Kenney) when he told a crowd of people: “If you vote for Lynne Ab­ra­ham, you’re throw­ing your vote away.” Ouch.

Here’s one tough cookie riding her motorcycle around Philly (click the image to see the full video):

Nelson Diaz
Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.19.07 PM

Diaz has taken aim directly at Jim Kenney, and he came out guns blazin’ earlier this week after Kenney scored an endorsement from a Latino group. Diaz claimed Kenney only got the endorsement because he agreed to run alongside council candidate Manny Morales, who is maybe a racist. More on that here.

Here’s Diaz dancing to “Gangnam Style” (click the image for the full video:

Jim Kenney
Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.19.14 PM
Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.47.54 AM

Kenney’s stock went up this week after an AFL-CIO poll showed him narrowly leading Anthony Williams, and both of them having a leg up on Lynne Abrahram. But take that with a huge, union-sized grain of salt — the poll is hardly non-partisan, and Kenney has received major union and labor backing. Still, we have no independent polls telling us who’s winning this thing. But is Kenney the new frontrunner, anyway? More on that later.

He continues to rake in the endorsements, though it was reported that he barely lost out on the endorsement from Philadelphia’s Black Clergy who, in the end, went with Williams. Also this week: Kenney took some major heat from Nelson Diaz after winning an endorsement from a Latino group. See above.

I really struggled with Kenney’s hair. So I just went with the purple rocker ‘do and made him sing songs that we can’t understand (click the image to see the full video):

Doug Oliver
Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.19.20 PM
Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.47.54 AM

Doug Oliver had two shining moments this week: The first, he launched his first TV ad. While he garnered a bit of criticism for its content and its amateurism, the ad overall was creative and targeted toward specific demographics. It also shows that he’s raised enough money to run TV ads, a feat and of itself. Check out what PhillyMag called “the most compelling ad” of the race so far:

Oliver also got a bit of praise from a fellow candidate. When the mayoral candidates were asked if they had the choice to vote for anyone else or for Fox29 anchor Mike Jerrick (lol), only Kenney picked someone else. And he said he’d vote for Oliver.

Sorry for this one, Dougie O. (click the image for the full video, if you dare):

Milton Street
Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.19.26 PM
Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.47.54 AM

Milton Street is basically spending all his time throwing mad shade at Anthony Williams and talking about things that make no sense. Are there kangaroos in Philly? Maybe, says Milton! I don’t even know anymore.

Here he is dancing to “Sexy Back” in case you’re into that sort of thing (click the image to view the full video):

Anthony Williams
Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.19.33 PM

Sen. Anthony Williams scored a coupla key endorsements from the Philadelphia Black Clergy and the Black Ward Leaders, the former of which apparently struggled to decided who to officially endorse.But Kenney’s recent success doesn’t bode well for Williams, and a new poll showing Kenney in the lead didn’t help — even if it wasn’t totally independent. But Williams did admit to starting an opposition basing website called Progressive Philly, which basically just slams Abraham and Kenney. Information on that below.

Here’s Williams in a white suit doing a thing:


Biggest news

The second televised mayoral debate of the election season took place Thursday, and while the status quo may not have changed all that much, we learned some new interesting tidbits. Nelson Diaz wants some pot! Milton Street says get rid of the kangaroos! Most importantly: Is there a new frontrunner? Sen. Anthony Williams has widely been seen as the leader since the beginning of all this. He launched him campaign first, and he has the support in numbers to put this thing away.

But a new poll this week (hardly non-partisan, worth noting) had Kenney in the lead. Customary debate practice tells candidates to attack the frontrunner. The first person attacked during the debate? Kenney. Nelson Diaz literally started off the debate taking a shot at the former councilman by bringing up comments made in the 90s about stop-and-frisk and ways to deter crime.

Otherwise, the debate turned out to include some lively conversation ranging from education, to crime, to environmental issues. Fox 29 has video recaps, and check out the video below to see Billy Penn’s Shannon McDonald ask the candidates about how to tackle litter in the city:

FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Who messed up

Lynne Abraham… like seven years ago. Abraham has been criticized on and off for some of the actions she took as district attorney, natch. This week, it was brought up that in 2008, Abraham failed to prosecute a Philly cop who shot a 20-year-old in the back. She recommended that both officers involved be fired, but not criminally charged. She noted again their “utter lack of judgement.”

Best tweet

lol yeah no

Gabby Douglas I’m not. pic.twitter.com/sE1HUgqWQq — Jim Kenney (@JimFKenney) April 21, 2015

Insult of the week

Anthony Williams insulted Jim Kenney and Lynne Abraham in the form of an entire website. The Williams campaign launched oppo website ProgressivePhilly.com which basically takes shots at both Kenney and Abraham’s stances on policing, use of force and stop-and-frisk. Williams, when asked about the website, apparently didn’t see it as an attack, responding: “Why would it be negative if it’s part of somebody’s record?” Alrighty.

Cool story

There’s a new political data website that has launched in Philly. It’s called Crowdpac, and its signature item is called the “Crowdpac score,” which is essentially a ranking system. The Philadelphia mayoral race is the website’s first foray into city politics — before it focused exclusively on national and state politics. PhillyMag has all the details. 


“We’ll clean out lots, and get rid of rats, raccoons . . . [and] kangaroos!” Milton Street wants to hire residents to help clean up their communities and rid the city of litter. Gotta get rid of those kangaroos tho.


Hundreds of people showed up this week to a mayoral forum dedicated exclusively to tech that was one of the marquee events for Philly Tech Week 2015. The candidates talked about Open Data, StartUp PHL and municipal WiFi — and Technically Philly says Jim Kenney won. 

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.