Election Day is almost here. Five people are competing for mayor. At least three new people appear primed to get at-large seats on City Council. And statewide, the Supreme Court race is as important as it’s been in 300 years.
So in other words, you better vote. Polls open Tuesday morning at 7 and close at 8 at night. If you’re not sure where your polling location is, you can find it easily here by typing in your address.
And if you need a last-minute guide for the different candidates and races, we’ve got you covered. Here is Billy Penn‘s procrastinator’s guide to the 2015 election.
The mayoral race
Background: Publisher/editor of Independent Voice newspaper, previously ran for Chaka Fattah’s congress seat and the 8th District Council seat.
Lives in: Germantown
The gist: Foster may be an independent candidate but coming into this race he had more name recognition than Republican candidate Melissa Murray Bailey. Foster picked almost 1,000 more signatures on his mayoral petition than she did. His campaign has centered on ridding Philadelphia of corruption. He sees the Nutter administration and other recent Democratic administrations as being filled with patronage to the point where most city employees are useless. If elected, Foster said he would immediately devote more time to neighborhoods than the current administration has and ask for the resignation of every appointed city official.
Learn more: Check out our profile of Foster from this summer.
Background: Wal-Mart overnight stocker running as a Socialist.
Lives in: Germantown
The gist: Hart is all about representing Philadelphia’s working class. He considers himself to be the opposite of Jim Kenney, whom he has said represents the interests of big business. Though he’s a newcomer to the center stage of local politics, he has been involved in politics throughout his life. Hart participated in the Civil Rights and antiwar movements and recently has been involved with Black Lives Matter. He would like to see the local minimum wage increased to $15 an hour.
Learn more: Check out this Philly.com breakout on Hart.
Background: Career politician who served on Philadelphia’s City Council from 1992 to earlier this year.
Lives in: Old City
The gist: Democrats have owned Philadelphia since the 1951 election. Barring a miracle from the Republican or independent candidates, Jim Kenney will likely win on Tuesday. He dominated the other Democrats in May’s primary, beating his next-closest competitor by 30 percentage points. He’s known for his progressive stances. Kenney was an important city leader for the LGBT rights movement and just last year introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana. He’s also known as a unions guy. Pacs related to unions and particularly Johnny Doc contributed $2.3 million to help him get elected in the run-up to the spring primary. Kenney has often talked about the need to offer pre-K to everyone in Philadelphia and to expand industrial style jobs for Philadelphians without college degrees who are in need of a work.
Learn more: Check out our Q and A with Kenney from last week and our story about his early days on City Council when he was still closely affiliated with state Sen. Vince Fumo, who was later convicted on charges of corruption. Also, very importantly, this is what Kenney would look like with a man bun.
Background: Croatian immigrant who moved to Philadelphia in 2000.
Lives in: South Philadelphia
The gist: Kindij is running for mayor because he wants more fairness and justice in Philadelphia, and he wants to focus on underserved communities. He has compared himself to a Bernie Sanders-style candidate. Some of his goals, if elected, include strengthening the relationship between police and citizens, increasing the minimum wage to $15 and giving tax breaks to new businesses to promote job creation locally. He’s similar to Foster in that considers Philadelphia’s current government to be corrupt and mismanaged.
Melissa Murray Bailey
Background: Businesswoman with extensive international experience who moved to Philadelphia in 2012. She switched parties from Democrat to Republican last year.
Lives in: Society Hill
The gist: On most issues, Murray Bailey and Kenney think about the same. She largely differs from Kenney in that she favors fiscal conservatism and, socially, on issues of marijuana decriminalization and immigration. Murray Bailey does not want Philadelphia to be a sanctuary city. It currently is, meaning the local government does not comply with detaining illegal immigrants based on federal authorities’ procedures. Murray Bailey is also prioritizing education and would like to see high schools emphasize a need for their graduates to get jobs the same way colleges do.
Learn more: Check out our Q&A with Murray Bailey.
City Council is guaranteed to get some new blood this year, thanks to primary victories by Democrats Helen Gym, Allan Domb and Derek Green in the at-large race. Pretty much no one is being challenged in the district races and the two incumbent candidates who face an opponent are likely to win.
The Republican side of this race could get interesting. All five Republicans have a decent shot of winning one of the two seats, and Independent Andrew Stober could pioneer a new route into City Council if he takes one of the seats away from the Republicans.
For this race, you can vote for up to five people. Pro tip: The Democrats will almost certainly take five of these seats. But Republicans and other parties get the two other seats. If you really want a particular person to get one of those final two seats — say Andrew Stober or David Oh — only vote for that person. Votes for any other candidate will dilute the likelihood of your candidate winning.
- Dennis O’Brien: Served as a state representative for 30 years before winning an at-large seat here in 2011.
- David Oh: Longtime lawyer who first got elected to Council in 2011. Was leading vote-getter for Republicans in the primary.
- Andrew Stober: The Independent. He helped launch Indego and has gotten endorsements from Ed Rendell and Mayor Michael Nutter.
- Al Taubenberger: A political lifer, he lost the mayor’s race in 2007 and an at-large council spot in 2011.
- Daniel Tinney: Businessman working in the energy sector who has gotten some union support.
- Terry Tracy: Finished in third-place in the Republican primary about 200 votes behind O’Brien. Has endorsements from millennial Pacs 5th Square, Philadelphia 3.0 and Philly Set Go.
- Blondell Reynolds Brown: Looking to be elected for a fifth term as an at-large councilwoman.
- Allan Domb: Known as the condo king, he dumped more than $500,000 of his own money into his campaign in the spring.
- Derek Green: The top vote getter in the spring primary. He’s a former aide of Marian Tasco.
- William Greenlee: Longtime aide to late Councilman David Cohen who’s been in office since 2006.
- Helen Gym: Penn graduate and education activist.
- 1st District: Mark Squilla, Democrat
- 2nd District: Kenyatta Johnson, Democrat
- 3rd District: Jannie Blackwell, Democrat
- 4th District: Curtis Jones Jr., Democrat
- 5th District: Darrell Clarke, Democrat
- 6th District: Bobby Henon, Democrat
- 7th District: Maria Quinones Sanchez, Democrat
- 10th District: Brian O’Neil, Republican
- 8th District: Cindy Bass, Democrat; Michael Galganski, Free Dominion Party
- 9th District: Cherelle Parker, Democrat; Kevin Strickland, Republican; Bobbie T. Curry, Independent
Learn more: See our Q&A with Andrew Stober and read about why it’s so rare for incumbent City Council members to lose.
State supreme court
Most of the key races in this election were decided in the spring. But that’s not the case for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court elections. These spots will likely impact Pennsylvania and Philadelphia more than any of the other races. Why? Well, three positions are available on the Supreme Court. That’s the largest number of seats available in a single year since 1704. Three Democrats, three Republicans and one independent are running, and Pennsylvania’s high court could stay red or turn blue based on this election.
Two of the candidates are from Philadelphia: Democrat Kevin Dougherty, Johnny Doc’s brother, and Independent Paul Panepinto. Check out our article on this race for more information.