Election 2019

The procrastinator’s guide to the May 2019 primary election in Philly

A cheat sheet for being informed on Election Day.

voted-sticker-bulletinboard2
Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Updated May 20

Election Day: You can’t remember where exactly where your polling place is. You’ve only heard the three of the 100+ candidates, and you’re not entirely sure of what races you even get to vote in.

We’ve got you covered.

This year’s municipal races — the whole ballot is local! — will have far-reaching effect on the next few years for the city. Mayor Jim Kenney faces blowback on his landmark soda tax. City Council is destined to get some new faces. We also have to pick a handful of new judges whose policies and practices will impact the lives of thousands of Philadelphians every day.

It’s worth spending some time to find out whose fortunes you’re boosting when you push that green VOTE button. Take a look through this guide now, then bookmark it for a quick refresher on your way to the polls on Tuesday, May 21.

Scroll down for more or use these links to jump to the sections below:

Your polling place

Find it here. This will also have info about what Ward and Division you’re in. Once you know that, you can determine your Councilmanic District here.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Unless it’s your first time voting at a particular location, you do NOT need to show any identification.

Ballot questions

There are four questions you can vote on no matter your party affiliation. We’ve got an explainer on each:

Mayor

Sure, no incumbent mayor has lost their bid for re-election since the charter went into effect seven decades ago. But Mayor Jim Kenney faces two Democratic challengers as he asks voters to grant him a second four-year term as the city’s top dog. You can vote for one candidate.

Mayor Jim Kenney, Democrat (incumbent)

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney

Kenney for Mayor

The former city councilman from South Philly was elected in 2015 on a platform to reinvest in the city’s neighborhoods. The signature achievement of his first term? No doubt the 1.5-cent-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax, aka soda tax, to fund programs like universal pre-K, community schools and improvements to neighborhood parks and rec centers. Kenney’s re-election bid has become a clear referendum on the tax. Philadelphians largely support the programs, but still bemoan the levy itself, polls show. Kenney also contends with a climbing homicide rate and a ever-raging opioid crisis. While he’s avoided a major scandal in his first term, his Democratic opponents have also zeroed in his ties to indicted union leader John “Johnny Doc” Doughterty. He’s faced criticism for falling out of touch with black Philadelphians, who helped elect him in 2015.

Three priorities

  1. Keep soda tax alive
  2. Support overdose prevention site
  3. Maintain Philly as a “sanctuary city”

Connect with Kenney: Website | Twitter | Facebook

State Sen. Anthony H. Williams, Democrat

State Sen. Anthony Williams

State Sen. Anthony Williams

Williams campaign

A state senator representing West Philly and part of Delco for two decades, Williams touts his experience at the state level to get more done for the city in Harrisburg. You may recall he ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2015, when he came second behind Kenney. Why the rematch? Williams is running in the opposite direction of Kenney on the soda tax and overdose prevention sites. He also claims Kenney isn’t doing enough to stop homicides. He vows to declare a “state of emergency” on gun violence in the city, while also promising to “abolish” stop-and-frisk policing, something Kenney campaigned on in 2015, but has not yet effected.

Three priorities

  1. Abolish stop-and-frisk
  2. Repeal soda tax
  3. Stop plans for overdose prevention sites

Connect with Williams: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Alan Butkovitz, Democrat

Mayoral candidate Alan Butkovitz

Mayoral candidate Alan Butkovitz

Alan for Mayor

Butkotviz served as the city’s fiscal watchdog for over a decade until he was ousted by current City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart in 2017. He champions his time conducting politically unpopular audits and holding the government accountable for financial malfeasance.

While his campaign hit a bumpy start, he’s running hard against the soda tax and overdose prevention sites, and has painted Kenney a slave to powerful union interests like John Dougherty.

Three priorities

  1. Abolish stop-and-frisk
  2. Repeal soda tax
  3. Stop plans for overdose prevention sites

Connect with Butko: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Billy Ciangalini, Republican

Republican voters have one choice for mayor on the primary ballot, largely because the original GOP nominee, Daphne Goggins, dropped out of the race after vicious infighting within the party. Save for his opposition to Philly’s “sanctuary city” status, Ciancaglini’s platform shares a lot in common with Kenney’s Democratic rivals. He has used his Facebook account to rail against the soda tax and overdose prevention sites, and has gone as far as to target a South Philly restaurant for throwing a fundraiser for undocumented immigrants. Unless someone wages a crazy unexpected write-in campaign, he’ll more than likely be the Republican nominee for mayor, facing off against the winner of the Democratic primary in the November general election.

Three priorities

  1. Reverse Philly’s “sanctuary city” status
  2. Oppose overdose prevention sites
  3. Repeal soda tax

Connect with Ciangalini: Website | Facebook

Back to top ⤴️

City Council At-Large

It’s not quite as uproarious as the Frank Rizzo years — when 100+ candidates ran for Council — but this is nonetheless a big ballot with lots of names, few of which will sound familiar. You can vote for five candidates within your party.

Democrats

Adrian Rivera Reyes

Adrian Rivera-Reyes

Adrian Rivera-Reyes

STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

One of 10 millennial candidates running on the ballot, this 26-year-old is working as a postdoctoral fellow at Penn, doing cancer research while he runs for office. Rivera Reyes is gay and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. He’s also Latino — originally hailing from Puerto Rico before he came to Philly to earn his Ph.D. He leads the Penn Science Policy and Diplomacy Group, and served as a policy analyst on immigration and healthcare reform for unsuccessful U.S. Congressional candidate Molly Sheehan. | Endorsed by: Run for Something, Latino Victory Fund, CCP faculty union

Deja Lynn Alvarez

Deja Lynn Alvarez

Deja Lynn Alvarez

Vote for Alvarez

Should Deja Lynn Alvarez win her bid for election, Philly City Council will get its first openly transgender member. A longtime LGBTQ activist, Alvarez works at the city-funded HIV prevention program Club 1509, is a member of the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs and serves on the board at the William Way LGBT Community Center. In March, staffers from another at-large campaign accused Alvarez of lying about her ethnicity, a claim she vehemently disputed. | Endorsed by: State Rep. Brian Sims, Liberty City Democratic Club

Helen Gym (incumbent)

Helen Gym

Helen Gym

Helen Gym for Council

Incumbent Helen Gym is wrapping up her first term as an at-large councilmember. First elected in 2015, she’s become known as a champion for social justice issues, from spearheading the city’s Fair Workweek legislation to weighing in on national issues like the R. Kelly ban. Before her political career, she was an activist who focused primarily on improving the city’s stock of public schools. | Endorsed by: Democratic City Committee, AFL-CIO, AFSCME District Council 47

Ogbonna ‘Paul’ Hagins

Ogbonna 'Paul' Hagins

Ogbonna 'Paul' Hagins

STEVEN M. FALK /STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

On his campaign website, Ogbonna Paul Hagins describes himself as a long-time activist in North Philadelphia. Self-described as “The Philly Green Man,” he promises to work toward Green New Deal-style policies in the city and establish better trash pickup services. He’s been known to throw a vegan fundraiser or two. Hagins also says he’ll prioritize Philly schools, implementing better quality STEM education.

Fernando Treviño

Fernando Trevino

Fernando Trevino

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Fernando Treviño’s a longtime political consultant, having worked on campaigns for Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, former Mayor Michael Nutter, former DA candidate Richard Negrín, and some dude named Barack Obama. He also founded his own political advising firm, which helps political campaigns based in Philly and across Latin America. A Mexican immigrant, Treviño says he’ll incorporate global thinking into his local governance strategy. | Endorsed by: Latino Victory Fund

Eryn Santamoor

Eryn Santamoor

Eryn Santamoor

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

In her pitch to voters, Eryn Santamoor touts her experience in Philly’s executive branch. She worked as a deputy managing director under former Mayor Michael Nutter — a gig she said taught her how to move the needle on issues surrounding public education and trash collection. Santamoor also worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and as a consultant at Public Financial Management, which counsels fiscally distressed cities. | Endorsed by: former Gov. Ed Rendell, former Mayor Michael Nutter, Philly 3.0

Joseph Diorio

Joseph Diorio

Joseph Diorio

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Joseph Diorio doesn’t have much of an online presence — there’s no apparent campaign website, and there’s been very little media coverage of his platform. An attorney who’s brought a few suits against the city, Diorio got a one-time $50k contribution in his campaign, from…himself.

Hena Veit

Hena Veit

Hena Veit

Veit campaign

Mayfair resident Hena Veit says she’s qualified to rep the city because of her work as a forensic mitigation specialist. Her current job entails helping folks get shorter sentences after they’ve been convicted of a crime. Veit was born in Pakistan, then raised in London. Now in Philly, and without much political experience at age 52, she wants to draft legislation that focuses on criminal justice reform and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Billy Thompson

Billy Thompson

Billy Thompson

Thompson campaign

A Northwest Philadelphia pastor and musician, this isn’t Billy Thompson’s first foray into public policy. He got involved in the fight for Fair Workweek legislation, teaming up with at-large Councilmember Helen Gym to testify on its behalf. On his campaign website, Thompson says he’ll prioritize services for seniors and push back against gentrification and displacement.

Beth Finn

Beth Finn

Beth Finn

STEVEN M. FALK /STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Beth Finn first got involved in politics in direct response to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. In 2016 she volunteered for Hillary Clinton, and when Clinton lost, Finn helped organize Philly’s iteration of the Women’s March. Now working at a health and science IT analytics company, Finn touts ambitious goals like establishing a public bank for the entire city. | Endorsed by: PA Chapter of the National Organization for Women

Back to top ⤴️

Latrice Bryant

Latrice Bryant

Latrice Bryant

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

An alum of CCP and Temple, Latrice Bryant worked for city government, both the executive and legislative branches, for nearly two decades. She’s got a sorta controversial past — in 2008, she was caught running personal errands while clocked in at City Hall. And back when she was an aide to former City Councilmember Wilson Goode, she held up a sign during legislative session that accused Fox29 of racism, reading “Jeff Cole KKK.” (She later apologized for that one.)

Allan Domb (incumbent)

Allan Domb

Allan Domb

STEVEN M. FALK /STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

In his first term on Council, Domb has cracked down on property tax deadbeats and pushed for more fiscal oversight into city funds. The “Condo King” donates his entire Council salary to the school district each year — and may have been thinking about running for mayor. But the millionaire has earned critics who say his real estate industry ties are a huge conflict of interest, especially when it comes to development policies like the controversial 10-year tax abatement. | Endorsed by: Democratic City Committee, Philly 3.0

Katherine Gilmore Richardson

Katherine Gilmore

Katherine Gilmore

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Gilmore Richardson is a decade-plus City Hall veteran who until recently served as the chief of staff to outgoing Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. Crowned as the natural successor to her boss, the 35-year-old won the city Democratic party’s coveted endorsement in this race. Three of her policy proposals: increase support for Philly’s “middle neighborhoods,” implement mandatory conflict resolution training in Philly schools, and fully fund the Community College of Philadelphia. | Endorsed by: Democratic City Committee, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

Erika Almirón

Erika Almiron

Erika Almiron

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Almirón has become one of the most prominent immigrant rights activists in the city, steering the conversation on the ongoing “sanctuary city” battles around undocumented immigrant detention. The longtime director at South Philly nonprofit Juntos, she has bonafides in the city’s progressive political circles and won endorsements from local labor unions. She has campaigned on increasing access to affordable housing, police accountability and creating a city bank. Read her full platform here. | Endorsed by: Reclaim Philadelphia, 215 People’s Alliance

Bobbie Curry

Curry is a perennial candidate for elected office. He likes running so much that he filed to participate in not one but two City Council races this year — under two different spellings. Bobbie Curry with an “ie” filed petitions to run for an at-large as a Democrat, while Bobby Curry with a “y” filed petitions to run for the 9th District against incumbent Cherelle Parker. The latter Curry didn’t make the cut, but is still on the ballot for at-large. He has no discernable policy platform, and his campaign had raised zero dollars as of April 1.

Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas

Thomas campaign

This is Thomas’ third run for City Council, which he argues is his strongest yet. The 34-year-old educator and former City Controller staffer has won support from the powerful unions as well as the city’s Democratic party. His platform focuses on fixing the schools, job growth and a “youth agenda” for engaging kids and keeping them out of trouble. | Endorsed by: Democratic City Committee, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

Vinny Black

Vinny Black

Vinny Black

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

“Vinny Black Got Your Back,” is no doubt a memorable campaign slogan. While his most recent campaign finance report shows an empty bank account, the 39-year-old Philly native has run his “grass roots, non-funded” campaign largely via Facebook, as well as making several appearances in Kensington. He has posted videos about automated technology replacing blue-collar jobs, spoken critically of City Council’s relationship with the real estate industry, and denounced the city’s tax abatement.

Wayne Edmund Dorsey

Wayne Dorsey

Wayne Dorsey

Dorsey campaign

Dorsey is running another grassroots campaign. While he lacks traditional campaign materials, his Facebook page details appearances at anti-gun violence rallies, neighborhood cleanups and jobs fairs. He has no detailed policy proposals available online.

Edwin Santana

Edwin Santana

Edwin Santana

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Santana, a Bronx native, settled in West Philadelphia after graduating from Lincoln University. A self-described entrepreneur and special education teacher, he ran unsuccessfully for a Pa. House seat in 2016. If elected to Council, he proposes to spur economic investment for minority-owned businesses in neighborhoods of color, increase youth educational programming and introduce green energy bills.

Mark Ross

Mark Ross

Mark Ross

STEVEN M. FALK /STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

The 56-year-old Philly native says he came up in the public school system and knows the struggle. Active in his North Philadelphia ward politics, Ross says he got into this race out of concern over the development near Temple University and rising taxes for long-term homeowners. He proposes abolishing the 10-year tax abatement and implementing a development impact fee to support the school district.

Back to top ⤴️

Devon Cade

Devon Cade

Devon Cade

Cade campaign

We haven’t heard much from Devon Cade since March, when he filed a legal challenge against virtually all of his Democratic challenges, claiming to have used “artificial intelligence” to spot forgeries on their candidacy paperwork. The 34-year-old then collapsed in the courtroom, and later withdrew his case, telling the Inquirer he didn’t know if he’d remain a candidate. His name will still appear on May 21 ballot.

Sandra Dungee Glenn

Sandra Dungree Glenn

Sandra Dungree Glenn

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Dungee Glenn is the former chair of the now-dissipated School Reform Commission. She’s also a former staffer of Sen. Vincent Hughes, Councilwoman Cindy Bass, and Councilman Curtis Jones. She supports early childhood education but sees the soda tax as a regressive tax that puts the burden on low-income residents. Her main objectives are investing in job creation and supporting new educational initiatives. She was expected to win the Democratic City Committee’s endorsement, but the party went with Isaiah Thomas instead. Her campaign hadn’t raised any money as of April 1.

Derek Green (incumbent)

Derek Green

Derek Green

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Green’s main goals include reducing poverty, improving the city’s education, and promoting criminal justice reform. In his first term on Council, he’s gained a reputation as a champion for small business. He’s passed zoning regulations to pave the way for medical marijuana dispensaries and pushed for sanctions against businesses with discriminatory practices. | Endorsed by: Democratic City Committee, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

Wayne Allen

Wayne Allen

Wayne Allen

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Allen has been a drug and alcohol counselor for over 30 years and a union delegate for 20. Allen identifies himself as pro-public schools and pro-unions. He also wants to revitalize the tax abatement structure. The Germantown native failed to file campaign finance information.

Justin DiBerardinis

Justin DiBerardinis

Justin DiBerardinis

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

The lifelong Philadelphian has experience working as the legislative director under Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and as the director of Bartram’s Garden. However, he’s best known for being an organizer in Kensington for Eastern Philadelphia Organizing Project (EPOP), when he led the campaign to replace the overcrowded Willard Elementary School. He wants public financing for elections, reforms for the 10-year tax abatement law, and for Philly to transition away from fossil fuels to more renewable energy. | Endorsed by: Former Gov. Ed Rendell, Reclaim Philadelphia

Fareed Abdullah

Fareed Abdullah

Fareed Abdullah

STEVEN M. FALK /STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Abdullah, a teacher, has run for office twice before — in Atlantic City, that is. His last ill-fated bid there was for mayor in 2017. His LinkedIn profile now shows he’s been working at Universal Charter School for over a year now. Running for a seat in Philly, his campaign website lacks specific policy proposals.

Asa Khalif

Asa Khalif

Asa Khalif

STEVEN M. FALK /STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Khalif is a self-proclaimed activist and key leader in Black Lives Matter Pennsylvania. (That’s not to be confused with Black Lives Matter Philadelphia, which has distanced itself from him.) Last year the 48-year-old led protests against Starbucks after the unwarranted arrests of two black Philadelphians, and he’s also been active in protesting the Frank Rizzo statue at MSB. Khalif has not previously held elected political office.

Ethelind Baylor

Ethelind Baylor

Ethelind Baylor

Baylor campaign

Baylor is a big name in the world of local labor unions. She’s the youngest African-American woman to be elected in her role as vice president of AFSCME DC 47. She wants to join the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, address the opioid crisis through prevention and treatment, and push for more money from Harrisburg for public schools. | Endorsed by: Reclaim Philadelphia

Back to top ⤴️

Republicans

Al Taubenberger (incumbent)

Al Taubenberger

Al Taubenberger

Taubenberger campaign

Prior to joining Council, Taubenberger was the longtime president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. In his first term, he’s joined nearly a dozen committees about various issues — more than any other member of Council, his website boasts. | Endorsed by: Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5

Dan Tinney

Dan Tinney

Dan Tinney

STEVEN M. FALK /STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

This Northeast Philly native ran for Council at-large as in 2015. The self-described “pro-union Republican” is back this year with money in the bank, and support from the local police union. Tinney has been vocal against new tax proposals, most recently promising to fight the proposed “congestion tax” for driving in Center City. | Endorsed by: Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5

Matt Wolfe

Matt Wolfe

Matt Wolfe

STEVEN M. FALK /STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Wolfe, who also ran in 2015, proposes a “common sense” platform for Republican voters, which includes proposals to end the city’s sanctuary city status and stop plans for overdose prevention sites. The 63-year-old Penn grad has also taken shots at labor leader Johnny Doc and Councilman Bobby Henon in the wake of their indictments.

Bill Heeney

heeney19 (1)

Billy Heeney

Heeney campaign

A Torresdale resident, businessman and Republican ward leader, Heeney announced his candidacy back in November at the FOP Lodge #5. Shortly after, Billy Penn obtained screenshots of his Facebook account, which had shared memes mocking Black Lives Matter protesters, deriding Section 8 housing, and degrading women. He’s been a vocal critic of District Attorney Larry Krasner’s criminal justice reforms and Mayor Jim Kenney’s policies.

David Oh (incumbent)

David Oh

David Oh

STEVEN M. FALK / STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Minority Whip David Oh’s got two terms under his belt, and he’s seeking a third. In his legislative history, Oh has toughened up Philly’s anti-squatting laws and officially apologized to the Chinese ambassador to the United States when a drunk guy stole the thumb off a Terracotta warrior statue. Recently, he said he wanted City Hall to take over control of the PPA. Expected for a Republican in a Democratic city: Oh opposes many policies, including the soda tax, Fair Workweek legislation, marijuana legalization, overdose prevention sites and generally everything about District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Drew Murray

Drew Murray

Drew Murray

STEVEN M. FALK /STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Logan Square resident Drew Murray is breaking into politics after a quarter-century working with high density storage systems and casework solutions. He’s got a civic history in his Center City community, serving on boards of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Friends of Coxe Park, the Crosstown Coalition and the Center City District. If elected, he hopes to reduce wage taxes, maintain the 10-year tax abatement and rid Philly of its sanctuary city status.

Irina Goldstein

Irina Goldstein

Irina Goldstein

STEVEN M. FALK /STEVEN M. FALK / at WHYY-Inquirer candidate forum

Who says people can’t change? Irina Goldstein has been campaigning for an at-large Council seat as a Trump supporter who opposes sanctuary cities. But just 10 months ago, she was holding up “ABOLISH ICE” signs and degrading the president on social media. A Soviet immigrant and a CCP-to-Temple alum, Goldstein has said her left-leaning social posts were “satire” and that she was “brainwashed by the media.”

Back to top ⤴️

City Council District Races

district-01
Billy Penn illustration

District 1

Mark Squilla, Democrat (incumbent)

Mark Squilla’s been repping the skinny District 1 along the Delaware River for two terms now, during which time he’s pushed legislation to raise the city’s minimum wage and better preserve Philadelphia’s stock of historic properties. He is known to be persistent, as evidenced by his decade-long campaign to ban or impose a fee for plastic bags in the city. Elected to govern parts of Kensington, Squilla has found himself in the middle of the debate about overdose prevention sites. He recently decided he’s against them. Also, he’s down to swim in a shirt and tie. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Recommended reading:

Lou Lanni, Democrat

Challenging the incumbent in District 1 is Lou Lanni, an openly gay man who grew up in Northeast Philly. A longtime Philadelphia police officer, he’s running as a Democratic this time, but has previously identified as a Republican. In 2016, he launched a failed campaign for 182nd District state rep against incumbent Brian Sims. On his campaign website, Lanni cites priorities like supporting small businesses and ending real estate tax increases.

Recommended reading:

district-02
Billy Penn illustration

District 2

Kenyatta Johnson, Democrat (incumbent)

First elected in 2011, Kenyatta Johnson has been at the helm of his South Philly district for two terms. He’s a supporter of the soda tax and of reforming the tax abatement program, which he says benefits newer city residents by stalling their property taxes for 10 years. Alongside fellow councilmembers, Johnson helped write a letter to Mayor Jim Kenney asking for more Free Library funding. Also, he’s not a big fan of protected bike lanes.

Recently, the South Philadelphia lifer has come under fire for a controversial land sale — the Councilman flipped a couple city-owned lots to a close friend and developer for a fraction of the fair market value. Had they been sold at a higher price, the cash would’ve gone to taxpayers.

Recommended reading:

Lauren Vidas, Democrat

Long before she officially announced, rumors swirled that Lauren Vidas would try to take over the second district. She’s served as a lobbyist, a legislative aide to former Councilman Bill Green and an assistant finance director to former Mayor Michael Nutter.

A Graduate Hospital resident, Vidas is a well-known urbanist and a longtime member of the South of South Neighborhood Association. With her own community already mostly gentrified, she said she’d like to prevent future displacement in deeper South Philly. If she’s elected, Vidas has potential to be the youngest and the first openly LGBTQ member of City Council.

Recommended reading:

Michael Bradley, Republican

Bradley — Army vet, construction manager, and member of Grays Ferry Civic Association — is running uncontested on the Republican ticket in the 2nd District. His campaign doesn’t appear to have a website or any publicly available policy information, but here’s his Facebook page.

district-03
Billy Penn illustration

District 3

Jannie Blackwell, Democrat (incumbent)

West Philadelphia’s third district hasn’t had a councilmember outside the Blackwell family in 45 years. The incumbent, Jannie, has held the office since 1992, when she took over for her late husband Lucien, who was inaugurated in 1975.

Recently, she’s co-sponsored a bill against workplace harassment and has voiced uncertainty about establishing permanent protected bike lanes in her district. Critics draw attention to her ties with real estate professionals. Last month, she reportedly helped a developer get city land on the cheap, and then the same person threw her a campaign fundraiser. A campaign event in February was the site of a series of dramatic protests.

Recommended reading:

Jamie Gauthier, Democrat

Taking a crack at the District 3 seat is political novice Jamie Gauthier, a Penn urban planning alum and the former executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy. For two years she led the nonprofit, which supports Philly’s park system through fundraising. In the past, Gauthier’s worked on sustainability, affordable housing and economic development projects. She also founded Mommy Grads, an organization that aims to help single mothers raise children while they go to college.

Recommended reading:

district-04
Billy Penn illustration

District 4

Curtis Jones, Democrat (incumbent)

Curtis Jones is now in his third term, seeking reelection in Northwest Philly’s District 4. While in office, he’s introduced bills on criminal justice reform measures, like the ban the box proposal, which passed in 2015 and prohibits employers from reviewing an applicant’s criminal history going back more than seven years.

More recently, Jones has sponsored legislation to give tenants more rights in eviction cases. He also raved when Starbucks decided to open a community store in Parkside. The councilman hasn’t avoided development drama — an entire apartment complex got evicted in his district, and Manayunk neighbors directed anger at him when a developer wanted to build an apartment complex without adequate parking.

Recommended reading:

Ron Adams, Democrat

First-time candidate Ron Adams lives in Roxborough. An alum of Temple’s Fox School of Business, he’s currently works as operations manager for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program. That position lets him see firsthand the devastation of the addiction epidemic, he says, and he wants to assemble a citywide task force to address it. (Worth noting: Mayor Kenney did that already.) On social media, the candidate has expressed his support for bike lanes and his distaste for Philly’s street sweeping pilot.

Recommended reading:

district-05
Billy Penn illustration

District 5

Darrell Clarke, Democrat (incumbent)

District 5 residents don’t have much of a choice this time around. Two-decade incumbent Darrell Clarke, who doubles as council president, is running unopposed. Recently, he’s put his weight behind bills that would ease regulations for car-share companies and bring traffic cops to the city. He’s gotten some criticism for suggesting Philadelphia be more flexible on its “sanctuary city” status and for some sketchy land sales of his own.

Recommended reading:

district-06
Billy Penn illustration

District 6

Bobby Henon, Democrat (incumbent)

Despite a blistering federal indictment against him, Henon is running unopposed in the primary this year. His corruption charges have rattled some of his constituents, while others insist he’s a good official. Henon, who has denied all wrongdoing in the Local 98 probe, has continued to push legislation related to the building trades and tout his constituent services in his Northeast Philly district — and he still has union support, to boot. He’ll likely face Republican Pete Smith in the November general election.

Recommended reading:

Pete Smith, Republican

Smith, a 52-year-old community leader, served until recently as the president of the Tacony Civic Association. He has been critical of Kenney’s soda tax and of rising real estate taxes. He’s running unopposed on the Republican ticket, which means he’s slated to face off in the November general election against Henon.

district-07
Billy Penn illustration

District 7

Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Democrat (incumbent)

In one of the most competitive council races this year, Quiñones-Sánchez is running for the third time without support from the local Democratic party, thanks to an ongoing feud with ward leaders in her predominantly Latino district. Despite criticism that MQS is an unwilling collaborator who alienates people, she has ushered in legislation to help set up the Philadelphia Land Bank as well as an affordable repayment program for residents who fall behind on their bills.

Recommended reading:

State Rep. Angel Cruz, Democrat

Cruz has represented the Latino strongholds of Philadelphia for more than 20 years in Harrisburg. He is also one of the ward leaders long at war with the current councilwoman. In the Capitol, he has been combative against Republican legislators. When the GOP introduced bills to make English the state language and mandate drug-testing for welfare recipients, Cruz counter-proposed making Spanish the official language and proposed extended drug testing to include his fellow state lawmakers.

Recommended reading

district-08
Billy Penn illustration

District 8

Cindy Bass, Democrat (incumbent)

Hey there, Northwest Philly: Incumbent Cindy Bass is running unopposed this year. Her one-time competitive Democratic challenger, Tonya Bah, got kicked off the ballot. Bass touts bringing quality-of-life improvements to her district, like increased regulation on clothing donation bins that often collect litter, and has also passed the hugely controversial legislation like the “stop and go” bill in 2017. She’s come under fire from residents in recent months over the sale of the Germantown High School building to a no-show developer, and at one point steered city grant dollars to a nonprofit formerly run by her chief of staff.

Recommended reading:

district-09
Billy Penn illustration

District 9

Cherelle Parker, Democrat (incumbent)

Parker, a former state representative, is also running unopposed in the Northwest. In her first term, she passed legislation to put that minimum wage question on the ballot question this year, and has also pushed for safety improvements like speed cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard. Parker holds advisory post with Independence Blue Cross at a time when second jobs have fallen under scrutiny for councilmembers.

Recommended reading:

district-10
Billy Penn illustration

District 10

Brian O’Neill, Republican (incumbent)

For Republicans in the far Northeast, O’Neill is your only option in this race — once again. He’s running for his 11th four-year term, making him the longest serving legislator on Council. The attorney prides himself on constituent services, with four satellite offices for residents to reach him in the far Northeast district. He’s the only Republican district council member, and he always has a ton of campaign cash on hand. He’s long held a second advisory job at law firm Fox Rothschild.

Recommended reading:

Judy Moore, Democrat

Moore, a Garces Group exec, is the lone Democrat on the ballot and will thus be the likely challenger for O’Neill come November. The 40-year-old Northeast Philly native is running on increased support for police officers, public schools and people struggling with addiction.

Recommended reading:

Back to top ⤴️

Department of the Sheriff

sheriff-skyline
Billy Penn illustration

The sheriff’s department is the law enforcement arm of the city’s court system. They’re in charge of transporting prisoners, managing tax delinquent property sales and providing security for city courthouses. The office has doubled in size over the last decade despite a track record of mismanagement and scandals. While there have been some calls to dissolve the row office entirely, this year’s race has become a referendum on the #MeToo movement. You can vote for one candidate.

Jewell Williams, Democrat (incumbent)

Jewell Williams

Jewell Williams

Sheriff's Office

Williams’ re-election campaign has been dogged by multiple workplace sexual harassment allegations, one of which ended in $127,000 taxpayer funded settlement. Williams has denied any wrongdoing. Under his leadership, the office has grown tremendously, taking on new duties and initiatives each year. His critics still accuse of him using the office’s duties to fortify his political power. Williams also moonlights as a political consultant and an allegedly bad landlord.

Rochelle Bilal, Democrat

Rochelle Bilal

Rochelle Bilal

Bilal campaign

Bilal, a former police officer and president of the Guardian Civic League, has concentrated her campaign on the office’s real estate wing, calling to reduce the number of properties that go to sheriff’s sale and instead help homeowners keep their properties. She has the support of District Attorney Larry Krasner. If elected, she would be the first black female sheriff in the department’s history.

Malika Rahman, Democrat

Malika Rahman

Malika Rahman

Rahman campaign

A former corrections officer and sheriff’s deputy, Rahman is running on a platform critical of corruption in the office. While working under Williams, she contributed to his re-election fund mere months before announcing her bid against him. If elected, she would be the first black female sheriff in the department’s history.

Larry King Sr., Democrat

Larry King Sr.

Larry King Sr.

King campaign

King served as a sheriff’s deputy under ex-sheriff-turned-felon John Green. He has presented himself to fix the alleged culture of corruption he witnessed in the office for decades, and restore the department’s integrity in the public eye.

Back to top ⤴️

City Commissioners

polling_place_cc_5856
Dan Levy / Billy Penn

These are the city’s election officials. They operate largely out of sight but are crucial for ensuring elections run smoothly. (Outgoing Commissioner Anthony Clark has been infamous for neither voting or showing up to work.) There are three elected in total, but it’s a necessarily bipartisan board, so you can only vote for two within your party.

Marwan Kreidie, Democrat

A leader in the city’s Arab-American community, Kreidie wants more accessible voting through same-day registration, vote-by-mail, early voting, and open primaries. He also will fight for allowing registration when you get your GED, SEPTA Key or even library card.

Omar Sabir, Democrat

Sabir wants to ensure that all voting places are accessible, well equipped, and well staffed. Born and raised in West Philadelphia, his future goal for the city is to increase overall voter turnout.

Lisa Deeley (incumbent), Democrat

Deeley’s whole career has been in politics, from the Pa. House to City Council to her current gig as chairwoman of the City Commissioners. She touts a long list of election reforms efforts during her last term, though she recently had her notary license taken away because she approved signatures on two death benefit documents without asking for identification.

Luigi Borda, Democrat

An immigrant from Italy, Borda became a U.S. citizen to cast his first vote at 18 years old. He’s also Democratic committeeperson for the 26th ward and was part of Mayor Kenney’s transition team in 2016. His main goal is to increase voter turnout by implementing more outreach guidelines, which he refers to as the “Borda Way.”

Dennis Lee, Democrat

The former Chief Deputy City Commissioner is known for fighting against the state 2012 voter ID law. He wants to provide voter education workshops to increase voter turnout in the city and establish “election integrity” standards.

Kahlil Williams, Democrat

Williams is a lawyer whose work deals with cases involving voter rights and fair elections. Before going into law, he was a policy analyst for the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, focusing on redistricting reform, campaign finance reform, and felon disenfranchisement. In addition to wanting general election reform, he wants to create a voting curriculum for Philadelphia students.

Carla Cain, Democrat

Cain’s mission is to increase voter registration and turnout. Her political history includes being a Democratic committeeperson for East Mt. Airy’s 22nd Ward and being on the State Democratic Committee. She’s known for throwing voter registration parties in her own home.

Moira Bohannon, Democrat

Bohannon says she wants to lower the barriers to voting so that all eligible people in the city have easy access to vote. Her political experience includes being a lobbyist for education policy, where she helped draft the original federal DREAM Act.

Robin Trent, Democrat

The current 52nd Ward committeewoman has an ambitious goal to bring voter turnout up to 100 percent and to remove language barriers at the polls by having interpreters. She also wants to give more access to voting to incarcerated people and encourage a voting curriculum in Philadelphia schools.

Jen Devor, Democrat

Currently, Devor is a 36th Ward committeeperson and an election poll worker. Before that, she served as Director of Partnerships at Campus Philly. She wants to increase voter turnout, protect voters’ rights, and create a pipeline to recruit poll workers for every Election Day.

Al Schmidt, Republican (incumbent)

Schmidt is the sole Republican on the ballot for commissioner this year, which means he’s guaranteed to retain his seat on the bipartisan board. (Philly’s Democratic voter registration edge means Republicans usually only get one seat on the board.) First elected in 2011 — across the aisle — Schmidt uses social media to share turnout numbers and other data to help keep voters engaged with the process.

Back to top ⤴️

Register of Wills

This colonial-era office processes inheritance claims, deals with estate issues, and hands out marriage licenses. The office is a critical arbiter in will disputes, which can have real consequences for grieving families. Why on earth do we vote for something like this? Good question. Many have called to abolish the $4-million-a-year office entirely. But that’s not happening this year, so cast your ballot accordingly. You can pick one candidate.

Ronald Donattuci, Democrat

Donatucci, an old-guard player in the city’s Democratic party, has held this office since 1979. No, that is not a typo. The 71-year-old elected official hardly disputes his office’s reputation a “patronage mill,” staffed with cronies and political allies. Rather, he contends that he has one of the most approachable offices in city government, where the job gets done with few complaints. Advocates have called on Donatucci to abolish the $300 to $500 “probate fees” on inheritance claims, saying they disproportionately hurt low-income Philadelphians’ ability to inherit and build generational wealth. The office says there’s nothing it can do.

Tracey Gordon, Democrat

A longtime community organizer, Gordon is a perennial candidate who has previously run for City Council, city commissioner, and state representative. As a candidate for the Register of Wills this year, she has proposed immediately abolishing the onerous probate filing fee, as well as trying to reduce the number of “tangled titles” and fraudulent estates. She also wants to do more office outreach so help families learn about their estate options before a death occurs.

Jacque Whaumbush, Democrat

Whaumbush, a former chief sheriff’s deputy, has run twice for the sheriff’s office before. In his run for the Register of Wills, the 61-year-old Andorra resident touts his management experience and his decades of involvement within the Democratic party. His campaign proposes delivering more outreach in the form of satellite offices and online service portals.

Back to top ⤴️

Judge of the Court of Common Pleas

The judicial races are arguably the most frustrating for voters. Six Common Pleas judges are being elected for the 1st Division trial court, which handles a litany of serious criminal cases. Judges’ actions have far-reaching impact, but it’s virtually impossible to get to know all the candidates before Election Day. And sadly, many judicial candidates rely on drawing a prominent spot in the ballot lottery to get a spot on the bench.

The Philadelphia Bar Association vets and recommends candidates, which many say is the best guide voters have. We’ll update this list of candidate names with notes about whether or not they’ve been endorsed. Want more info on each candidate? PhillyJudges.com has generously collected each candidate’s bio, platform, endorsements and news clips.

You can vote for up to six Democrats or six Republicans (though there’s only one running).

  • Jennifer Schultz (Democrat). Recommended by the bar
  • Joshua Roberts (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Craig Levin (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Jon Marshall (Democrat) = NOT recommended by the bar
  • James C Crumlish (Democrat) = HIGHLY recommended by the bar
  • Nicola Serianni (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Wendi Barish (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Leon Goodman (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Robert Trimble (Democrat) = NOT recommended by the bar
  • Beth Grossman (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Sherman Toppin (Democrat) = NOT recommended by the bar
  • Cateria R McCabe (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Kendra McCrae (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Vicki Markovitz (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Laurie Dow (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Anthony Kyriakakis (Democrat) = HIGHLY recommended by the bar
  • Chris Hall (Democrat) = HIGHLY recommended by the bar
  • Henry McGregor Sias (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Janine D Momasso (Democrat) = NOT recommended by the bar
  • Tiffany Palmer (Democrat) = HIGHLY recommended by the bar
  • Carmella Jacquinto (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • James F Berardinelli (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Terri M Booker (Democrat) = NOT recommended by the bar
  • Kay Yu (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Gregory Weyer (Democrat) = NOT recommended by the bar
  • Beth Grossman (Republican) = Recommended by the bar

Judge of the Municipal Court

Vote for one.

  • David H Conroy (Democrat) = Recommended by the bar
  • Theresa Brunson (Democrat) = NOT recommended by the bar

Judge of the Superior Court

Vote for two Democrats or two Republicans.

  • Beth Tarasi (Democrat)
  • Daniel D McCaffery (Democrat)
  • Amanda Green-Hawkins (Democrat)
  • Rebecca Warren (Republican)
  • Megan McCarthy King (Republican)
  • Christylee Peck (Republican)

Back to top ⤴️

Want some more? Explore other Election 2019 stories.

Thanks for reading another Billy Penn story

Seems you’re the kind of person who really digs in. Want more? Sign up for our free morning newsletter, the easy way to stay on top of Philly news.

Thanks for reading Billy Penn

Like the story above, everything we publish is powered by our members. If you enjoy reading, join today: Just $5/month makes more difference than you’d think.

Thanks for reading! We need you.

Reader donations power our newsroom. If Billy Penn helps you feel more connected to Philly, we’d love to count you as a member. Will you join us?

Lock in your support

Reader support powers our newsroom. A monthly membership helps lock it in.

Can we count on you as a Billy Penn sustainer?

Winning the local journalism game

Thank you: Member support powers our newsroom.

Know someone else who might like our work? Invite them to sign up for our free morning newsletter.