Philadelphia City Hall, north facade

Having trouble keeping tabs on who’s running for City Council in 2023? Yeah, us too. Every single seat on Philadelphia’s governing body is up for grabs.

In addition to a handful of incumbents who’ve indicated they’ll run again, at least a dozen more people have announced they’ll seek an at-large seat. At least four non-incumbents are vying for a district-level seat.


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It’s still early, though, and the field could get much bigger. In 2019, a whopping 30 candidates were on the Democratic ballot in the at-large primary race (four others intended to compete, but didn’t make it onto the ballot). Seven Republicans ran, too.

Who’s throwing their hats in the ring this year? We’ll keep this list updated as more candidates announce.

Did we miss someone? Let us know at tips@billypenn.com.

At-large challengers

Nina Ahmad (Democrat)

Nina Ahmad Credit: Nina Ahmad Campaign

Ahmad is an activist, scientist, and former bureaucrat from Mt. Airy who’s previously run for two state-level offices: lieutenant governor and auditor general. She served as deputy mayor for public engagement in Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, and now leads the Pa. chapter of the National Organization for Women. Ahmad, who was born in Bangladesh, also served on the National Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders under President Barack Obama.

As councilmember, Ahmad has said she wants to look at the city’s myriad issues through a “public health lens,” centering wellness in her approach to issues like gun violence, the environment, education, and housing.

→ Campaign site is here

Ogbonna ‘Paul’ Hagins (Democrat)

Ogbonna Hagins Credit: Ogbonna Hagins Campaign

Hagins, who describes himself as the “Philly Green Man,” is an activist and retired educator, according to his website. After years of “working hard to clean up the street from trash,” Hagins said he “now wants to clean up Philadelphia City Council.” Over the years, he has often posted on social media asking people to donate their unwanted shoes to be sent to communities in Africa, rather than throwing them away. He previously ran for an at-large seat in the 2019 primary.

Hagins’ stated priorities include education reform, better waste management, establishing a reparations commission, and creating Green New Deal-like policies at the local level.

→ Campaign site is here

Terrill Haigler (Democrat)

Terrill Haigler Credit: Emma Lee / WHYY

Haigler, known to many as “Ya Fav Trashman,” is a former city sanitation worker who built his public profile earlier in the pandemic by documenting the struggles of himself and his colleagues on social media while raising money for PPE for sanitation workers. He eventually quit his and founded the Trash 2 Treasure nonprofit, which organizes community clean-ups throughout the city and hosts expungement clinics. In February 2022, he was appointed to the city’s inaugural Environmental Justice Advisory Commission.

The North Philly native, a political newcomer, is running a campaign focused on cleaning up the city, which he says is a first step toward tackling Philadelphia’s bigger issues.

→ Instagram is here

Rue Landau (Democrat)

Rue Landau Credit: Rue Landau Campaign

Landau, a Bella Vista resident, formerly directed the city’s Commission on Human Relations and Fair Housing Commission and has served as the director of law and policy for the Philadelphia Bar Association. Before that, she was a lawyer for Community Legal Services and a housing activist. If elected, she’d be the first openly LGBTQ city councilmember.

Landau, who bills herself as a longtime “fighter for Philly,” says she’s running to work toward making sure “every person in our city” can have “the best we have to offer,” like an end to gun violence and access to safe and affordable housing.

→ Campaign website is here

Amanda McIllmurray (Democrat)

Amanda McIllmurray Credit: Amanda McIllmurray Campaign

Raised in Northeast Philly, McIllmurray is best known for her work as political director for Reclaim Philadelphia, a progressive group she co-founded in 2016. She’s also worked on progressive campaigns, per her LinkedIn page, and before she got involved in politics, was a legal assistant and held jobs in food service and retail.

McIllmurray has said she wants to “build a coalition between labor, progressives, and working-class people across the city” by pursuing priorities like rent controls, workers’ rights issues, and tax changes that would “ensure that our wealthiest businesses and landowners pay their fair share.”

→ Campaign site is here

Daniel Orsino (Democrat)

Daniel Orsino Credit: Daniel Orsino Campaign

North Philadelphia resident Orsino is a housing counselor for Congreso — a nonprofit that aims to economically empower Philadelphians living in predominantly Latino areas — who’s previously worked in other social service roles. In 2019, he ran against District 1 Councilmember Mark Squilla as a Republican, campaigning on issues like an end to the soda tax and eliminating the wage tax for people with incomes below $50k. This time, he’s running as a Democrat. If elected, he’d be the first openly LGBTQ councilmember.

Orsino’s policy priorities include what he calls “common sense stuff” like safe roads, reliable trash collection, and a tax code “that doesn’t bleed the working class dry, while still making the rich pay their fair share.” He also supports expanding social services, increasing available public housing, and protecting workers’ rights.

→ Campaign site is here

Michelle Prettyman (Democrat)

Michelle Prettyman Credit: Michelle Prettyman Campaign

According to her website, Prettyman is an educator and a small business owner who runs an event planning company called Impressed by M. Conquest. She says she has seen the “social, emotional, and economic toll robbing Philadelphians from the quality of life they deserve” through her students.

Prettyman wants to run for office to be an “advocate for the needs of children and families.” On her website, she lists crime reduction, educational reform, and supporting small businesses as issues that need to be tackled.

→ Campaign site is here

Eryn Santamoor (Democrat)

Eryn Santamoor Credit: Eryn Santamoor Campaign

Santamoor, a Chestnut Hill resident, was chief of staff to former Councilmember Allan Domb and has held several other roles in government and politics, including deputy managing director during the Nutter administration and committeeperson. She also sits on the board of Uplift Center for Grieving Children, an East Falls-based nonprofit that supports children who’ve lost a loved one. This is Santamoor’s second time running for council — she also pursued an at-large seat in 2019.

As councilmember, Santamoor says she would prioritize public safety, substance use treatment, and “quality services for every neighborhood.”

→ Campaign site is here

Jim Hasher (Republican)

Jim Hasher Credit: Jim Hasher campaign

Hasher, a Torresdale resident, is a longtime realtor, the owner of a Northeast Philly sports pub, and a youth sports volunteer and leader. His past political involvement includes being a ward leader, running for Congress in the 1990s, and managing a successful City Council campaign. His name might seem familiar — he was on the ballot in November in one of the at-large special elections.

Hasher, a self-described moderate, lists public safety, supporting small businesses, and addressing the opioid epidemic as his campaign priorities.

→ Campaign site is here

Drew Murray (Republican)

Drew Murray Credit: Drew Murray Campaign

A Logan Square resident, Murray is a regional sales manager at O’Brien Systems, a storage manufacturer based in Montgomery County. In addition to being a ward leader, he serves on the boards of his neighborhood association and the Center City District. Like Hasher, Murray was on the ballot in one of the at-large City Council special elections in November. He also ran for council in 2019 and for a Pa. House seat in 2020.

Murray’s platform includes prioritizing quality of life issues by returning “law and order” to the city, getting rid of the soda tax in favor of alternative funding for universal pre-K and the Rebuild program, and lowering the wage tax.

→ Campaign site is here

Sam Oropeza (Republican)

Sam Oropeza Credit: Sam Oropeza Campaign

Former boxer and mixed martial arts fighter Oropeza is a real estate agent and the leader of Rescuing Streets through Clean-Ups, a Riverwards group that organizes community trash pick-ups. Oropeza, who lives in Bridesburg, has appeared on the ballot once before, when he ran in a May 2022 special election for a Northeast Philly state Senate seat against now-state Senator Jimmy Dillon.

Oropeza said in his October campaign announcement that he’s running to “actively strive for a safer community” by holding people like “violent repeat offenders, an absent city hall, and a rogue district attorney” accountable.

→ Campaign site is here

Nicolas O’Rourke (Working Families Party)

Nicolas O’Rourke Credit: Nicolas O'Rourke Campaign

O’Rourke, a pastor at Living Water United Church of Christ in Northeast Philly and longtime organizer, has served as the Pennsylvania Organizing Director for the Working Families Party. He’s also worked with POWER, an interfaith organization of Pennsylvania congregations that’s “committed to racial and economic justice on a livable planet.” O’Rourke previously ran for an at-large seat in 2019 alongside now-Councilmember Kendra Brooks, and will once again repeat the effort.

O’Rourke has said he’s “deeply committed to radical love, to righteousness, and to community care,” and plans to run on an agenda of “community safety and reducing gun violence, developing affordable and accessible housing, creating good jobs, and advancing climate justice,” per a press release.

→ Campaign Facebook page is here

District-level challengers

Jon Hankins (Democrat, District 5)

Jon Hankins Credit: Jon Hankins Campaign

Hankins is a state Democratic committee member, entrepreneur, and pastor, according to his campaign website. He’s looking to vie for Council President Darrell Clarke’s seat, which includes much of North Philadelphia, where Hankins grew up.

He lists as top priorities facilitating access to jobs, addressing parent concerns about schools, quality of life improvements, and dedicating resources toward gun violence investigations, prosecutions, and victim well-being.

→ Campaign site is here

James Whitehead (Republican, District 7)

James Whitehead Credit: James Whitehead Campaign

Whitehead, a lifelong Frankford resident, is the owner of a marketing business, per his LinkedIn. He’s also a Republican committeeperson in Ward 33. Whitehead’s looking to win a seat over newly elected Councilmember Quetcy Lozada, to whom he previously lost in the November 2022 special election.

Ahead of that election, Whitehead said his main focus was on issues like school safety, school choice, “law and order,” increased police presence, and addressing gentrification and property tax increases.

→ Instagram account is here

Gary Masino (Democrat, District 10)

Masino, president and business manager of Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, will seek the Democratic nomination for Brian O’Neill’s district, per a post to the union Facebook page. He serves on the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority, a state body that offers low-interest financing options to businesses. He also served during the Nutter administration on the Department of Licensing and Inspection’s board of appeals and the Zoning Board of Adjustments.

→ Billy Penn could not locate a campaign website for Masino.

Roman Zhukov (Republican, District 10)

Roman Zhukov Credit: Roman Zhukov Campaign

Zhukov, a Far Northeast resident who was born in Russia and grew up in Ukraine, also wants to challenge O’Neill. Zhukov is president of the group NE Phila Connected, a town watch group and nonprofit started in May 2020, and a Republican committeeperson in Ward 58. He’s previously worked in the restaurant industry and real estate management, according to his NEPC bio.

→ Zhukov’s Facebook account is here

Who’s in office right now, and who’s planning on running again?

City Council is almost full right now, with just one vacant seat following the November departure of now-mayoral candidate Helen Gym. Of the 16 sitting members, only one has so far said they don’t plan on running for re-election.

David Oh, the sole Republican at-large councilmember, has said he may resign to run for mayor, rather than seeking another term.

A few members have definitively said they’re running again, including 3 of 4 newcomers. Quetcy Lozada of District 7, Anthony Phillips of District 9, and Jim Harrity, who holds an at-large seat, have all indicated their intention to run in 2023, per the Inquirer. Sharon Vaughn, serving at large, has said she doesn’t plan on it.

At-large members Isaiah Thomas, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, and Kendra Brooks will also run again, according to reporting, and District 1 councilmember Mark Squilla indicated plans to as well.

Current at-large councilmembers

Current district councilmembers

Was gonna run, but withdrew 

Michael Galvan (Democrat, at-large candidate)

Michael Galvan Credit: Michael Galvan Campaign

A former Kenney campaign worker and then education official in his administration, Galvan was the first Democratic candidate to enter the field with their announcement in August. They grew up in Texas and have worked in education, politics, and youth leadership.

Top issues for Galvan, a Germantown resident, included ensuring access to stable housing, economic development, and supporting neighborhoods and “coordinated community efforts.” If elected, they would have been the first openly LGBTQ member of City Council.

Galvan announced their departure from the race “entirely for personal reasons” on Dec. 29.

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Asha Prihar

Asha Prihar is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She has previously written for several daily newspapers across the Midwest, and she covered Pennsylvania state government and politics for The...