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.

Political ads are in full swing, everyone’s starting to be mean to each other and (surprise!) we’re all still talking about the dark money behind the two mayoral frontrunners. Just over two and a half weeks left until the primary election. Here’s your weekly recap:

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
Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.47.54 AM

Rough week for Lynne Abraham. First, her new political ad that depicts her walking around clotheslines covered in photos was kind of a bust in the eyes of observers. She came across as buck-passing and flip-flopping on a number of issues during a sit-down interview with Philly Mag (more on that later). And she might have a bit of a Penn State problem because of a probe she said she would conduct — and then didn’t.

Oh, and in a week where hundreds of Philadelphians took to the streets to protest police misbehavior days after the eyes of the nation were focused on Baltimore, we learned the law firm where she’s a partner has represented cops accused of corruption and bad behavior.

Nelson Diaz
Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.19.07 PM
Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.47.54 AM

Diaz had his turn to talk about his education policies and public school funding during an interview on WURD this week, saying “Education, in my opinion, is a civil right.” You can listen to that full interview here.

He also drew praise for attending Thursday night’s massive #PhillyIsBaltimore protest, but not treating it like a photo-op… unlike one of his opponents was chastised for. More on that later.

Jim Kenney
Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.19.14 PM

Kenney’s stock really didn’t go up or down this week — he continues to be hammered for his support from union boss Johnny Doc, and he’s also continued to deflect those criticisms that mostly come from Williams’ camp.

“I must be doing good in the polls, because the attention seems to be focused on me,” he responded to his opponents during a mayoral forum earlier this week.

He also took to the radio waves to explain himself this week on WURD, when he talked about cops, pot and his PAC contributions. Listen to the interview here.

Doug Oliver
Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.19.20 PM

It was a relatively quiet week for Dougie O. — he didn’t take any hits this week, but he does apparently have a billboard up.

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

He says there will be no riots under his administration. He also apparently does not know how to turn his phone off. On the plus side he became a little active on the social media, with only a few days to go in the race. Who really knows what this guy has been up to, tbh.

Anthony Williams
Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.19.33 PM
Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.47.54 AM

Sen. Williams continues to take huge hits from his opponents based on where his campaign money is coming from (mostly from some billionaires who don’t live here). We’ll get into those criticisms in a bit, but he also drew fire this week from some in the black community — people who are largely in his corner politically.

During Thursday night’s #PhillyInBaltimore protest, Williams was reportedly chastised (see tweet below) for showing up to the demonstration and taking photos with people. Was it a photo-op? Who knows.

Biggest news

Lynne Abraham took a lot of hits this week. She made it seem, in a number of ways, like she really just governs and formulates stances based on who is listening. During a sit-down interview this week with Philly Mag‘s Holly Otterbein, Abraham talked about how she’s cool with eliminating the death penalty, allowing pot decriminalization and letting women wear pantsuits — all things she was once opposed to.

Otterbein has all the details about Abraham’s flip-flops. Her indecision even prompted a column from the magazine’s Joel Mathis, who declared her wishy-washy stance on charging bad cops should “disqualify” here.

Mathis wrote: “Lynne Abraham just admitted she governs with her finger in the wind — and does so when lives are being weighed. She does not deserve to be rewarded with the mayor’s office.”

Who messed up

An Anthony Williams PAC. This group’s new political ad got Philly.com‘s Tom Ferrick’s first FAIL grade of the season. Here’s why: “Its intended audience won’t find it credible.” Details here.

Best tweet

That photo tho

Speaker chastises Anthony Hardy Williams for making rally a “photo-op”. #PhillyisBaltimore pic.twitter.com/cx4eSyAG1b

— Vinny Vella (@Vellastrations) April 30, 2015

Insult of the week

Anthony Williams and council candidate Helen Gym traded insults back-and-forth this week and, through that, Williams even managed to get in a jab about Kenney. In what the Inquirer‘s Chris Brennan deemed as “talking smack,” Gym and her supporters went to a Williams rally in LOVE Park this week and lamented the Senator’s financial support. It comes primarily from three Main Line billionaires who run the Susquehanna International Group who have an interest in school choice and furthering the use of charter schools in the city.

Afterwards, SRC Chair Bill Green called Gym a hypocrite, saying she’d met with Williams earlier that week — he also pointed out that Gym sent her children to charter schools. Brennan has all the testy, drama-filled details here.

What everyone’s pissed about

Williams’ financial support came under fire again this week when a group revealed that those billionaires donating to Williams’ campaign also contributed to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. According to the group HedgeClippers, the Susquehanna International Group has given more than $30,000 directly to Walker’s first election and re-election — and that doesn’t include any money they donated to PAC’s that also supported Walker.

Don’t know what Walker stands for? He’s a high-powered Republican who describes himself as “100 percent pro-life,” opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest, opposes rights for gay couples including hospital visits and supports local police profiling in order to stop suspected illegal immigrants.

Cool story

So this isn’t technically about the mayor’s race, but we thought it was a cool story nonetheless. Did you know that in order to be a judge here in Philly, you basically just have to donate to a bunch of other politicians? It’s that messed up. The Daily News breaks down what it takes to put people in jail in this city — and it’s not experience.


“I know how to say no.”

That was said by Jim Kenney, a likely mayoral frontrunner who just wants everyone to believe him when he says all those powerful unions that support him won’t influence decisions. Even that big union boss Johnny Doc.


Will the next mayor of Philadelphia keep pot decriminalization around? Probably. Each of the three frontrunners — even Abraham, who was originally against it — have said they’d keep civil penalties around for the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

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