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Mounting a successful mayoral run in Philadelphia can cost $3 million or more, judging from past winners’ campaigns. That’s in addition to millions spent by outside groups trying to influence the election.
Where are this year’s contenders getting financial support? City campaign finance records provide a window into the answer — and donor profiles vary widely.
The Democratic primary field includes largely self-funded candidates like Jeff Brown and Allan Domb, and union favorites Helen Gym, Cherelle Parker, and Rebecca Rhynhart. Some, like Warren Bloom and Jimmy DeLeon, didn’t report any donations, and aren’t included here.
The latest numbers available show contributions received through the end of 2022. The maximum allowed for the year was $3,100 for individuals and $12,600 for political committees, partnerships, or sole proprietors.
Those maximums will be higher going forward: For 2023, they’re doubled to $6,200 and $25,200, after Domb triggered the “millionaire’s amendment” at the end of December by contributing at least $250,000 to his own campaign.
Despite the limits in place last year, both Domb and Gym both received a few much larger contributions. Those are allowed if the recipient has not yet declared their candidacy at the time of the contribution — and they don’t spend the excess money on election-related activities.
Here’s a look at the top contributors to each Democratic primary mayoral candidate campaign in 2022.
Note: Contributors are listed by amount given and then alphabetically. Multiple donations from one organization or family have been combined into single entries.
The top contributions to Brown last year went to his spring 2022 state House reelection campaign — not to his mayoral campaign, which collected just a few donations in November and December. Contributors for the state rep race included three pro-charter school PACs backed by Jeffrey Yass, the conservative co-founder of Susquehanna International Group, a large private equity firm. Donor Marty Burger is CEO of Silverstein Properties of New York, which is developing a project in West Philly for which Brown helped secure state funding. Burger reportedly plans to launch a $5 million super PAC for Brown. The state Democratic Party gave Brown an in-kind donation of mailers and postage for his reelection campaign and has not endorsed anyone in the mayoral race.
Top Amen Brown donors:
- Commonwealth Children’s Choice Fund Committee, Harrisburg, Pa. $25,000
- Excellent Schools Pa. Committee, Philadelphia, Pa. $22,500
- Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Harrisburg, Pa. $21,894
- Marty Burger, New York, NY $15,141
- Students First PAC Committee, Wynnewood, Pa. $10,000
Other contributions of note: Brown’s state rep campaign received $6,250 from Delco political consultant and activist Dan Muroff; $5,000 from Protecting Pa. PAC, a conservative PAC that backed recent state constitutional amendments limiting the governor’s emergency powers; and $5,000 from Fitler Development president Eugene Naydovich. The top contribution for Brown’s mayoral campaign was $3,100 from Lakisha Harvey of King of Prussia.
Brown, who owns several ShopRite and Fresh Grocer supermarkets, contributed more than $240,000 to his campaign in 2022. His top donors include a grocery workers union and a Conshohocken LLC connected to the Green family, owners of Firstrust Bank. Others are a trio of real estate-related organizations: Post Brothers, University City Housing, and a company associated with a Brooklawn, New Jersey, shopping center where Brown has a store.
Top Jeff Brown donors:
- 1776 PAC (United Food and Commercial Workers), Plymouth Meeting, Pa. $12,600
- Always Best Care Senior Services, Langhorne, Pa. $12,600
- Brooklawn RE, Brooklawn, NJ $12,600
- Casa Di Spiaggia LLC, Conshohocken, Pa. $12,600
- CRE8TIVE MARKETING LLC, Egg Harbor Township, NJ $12,600
- Post 260 Property Owner (Post Brothers), Philadelphia, Pa. $12,600
- University City Company, Bryn Mawr, Pa. $12,600
Other contributions of note: a combined $21,900 from 11 different people associated with insurer USLI in Wayne, Pa., and a total of $14,800 from nine people associated with Haverford Trust Company, a wealth management firm in Radnor.
Real estate magnate and former Council member Domb dropped more than $5 million into his own campaign account. One of his top contributors was Josh Kopelman, the billionaire head of a venture capital firm and The Philadelphia Inquirer board chair. Others are the city’s Realtors association, a member of the Green family (who own Firstrust Bank), and the Borish family (who own Marathon Grill).
Top Allan Domb donors:
- Rena Kopelman, Philadelphia, and Josh Kopelman, Gladwyne, Pa. $50,000 total
- Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors PHILPAC, Philadelphia, Pa. $12,600
- Richard Green, Conshohocken, Pa. $12,100
- Lindy family of Lindy Property Management, Philadelphia and Ambler, Pa. $10,500 total
- Cary Borish and Sheryl Borish, $8,100 total
Other contributions of note: A combined $21,600 from Center City law firm Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg and 15 of its employees; $9,300 from employees of SSH Real Estate on South Broad Street; and $9,100 from executives and staff of Parkway Corporation, a parking lot operator and real estate developer.
Among former Council member Green’s top donors are Montgomery County Sheriff Sean Kilkenny, real estate companies in Philadelphia and Denver, Colorado, and members of the Parchment family of Maryland. Green’s report includes $11,341 he loaned his campaign in the past, and $1,500 from his wife Sheila.
Top Derek Green donors:
- Friends of Sean Kilkenny, Jenkintown, Pa. $10,934
- Parchment family members, Kensington, MD $10,850 total
- AIMCO Properties LP, Denver, CO $10,000
- Alan Lindy of Lindy Property Management, Philadelphia $6,100
- Joseph and Robert Zuritsky of Parkway Corp., Philadelphia $5,000
- ChamberPHL PAC, Philadelphia $5,000
Other contributions of note: Law firm Obermayer Rebmann and its chairman David Nasatir gave a combined $6,000. Green has a number of frequent contributors, including Anita Green of Bensalem, who gave 15 contributions totaling $4,611, and retired Philadelphia pastor Robert Holum, who gave 24 small contributions that add up to $1,900.
Former Council member Gym contributed $25,000 to her campaign account in 2022. The national AFT teachers union gave her a sizable contribution, and other donors include the Teamsters unions and the national Working Families Party. She also received donations from John Chou, a board member at the Committee of Seventy good government group and a former executive at AmerisourceBergen Corporation, where Gym’s husband worked until recently.
Top Helen Gym donors:
- American Federation of Teachers, Washington, DC $112,600
- Local 0115 Teamsters, Philadelphia $37,600
- John Chou and Teresa Wallace, Bala Cynwyd, Pa. $21,200 total
- Working Families Party National PAC, Brooklyn, NY $20,000
- Eugene and Sarah Kim, Moorestown, NJ $16,200 total
- Richard and Barbara Schiffrin, Wynnewood, Pa. $16,200 total
- Rebecca Binder and Charles Cohen, Benco Family Foundation, Pittston, Pa. $16,200 total
- Bernard Tschumi and Kate Linker, New York, NY $13,100 total
Other notable contributions: restaurateur Mabel Chan (of Joy Tsin Lau), $12,900; PFT Committee to Support Public Education (Philadelphia teachers union), $12,600; and IBEW Local 98, $12,600. Thirty-two University of Pennsylvania employees gave her a combined $15,571.
The top contributors to former Council member Parker’s campaign are mainly trades unions, including the Sprinkler Fitters, Laborers, Painters, and Carpenters, as well as the union for the city’s firefighters and paramedics.
Top Cherelle Parker donors:
- FIREPAC (Firefighters Local 22), Philadelphia $12,600
- Greater Pa. Carpenters PAC, Philadelphia $12,600
- International Union of Painters and Allied Trades DC21 PAC, Philadelphia $12,600
- Laborers District Council PAC, Philadelphia $12,600
- Sprinkler Fitters Local Union 692 PAC, Philadelphia $12,600
Other notable contributions: IBEW Local 98 and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 542 each gave Parker $10,000, as did the Philadelphia law firm Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young. The law firm Duane Morris and two of its employees contributed $10,000. Members of the Zuritsky family, who own Parkway Corporation, gave a combined $8,100.
Maria Quiñones Sánchez
Former Council member Sánchez contributed $10,000 and loaned her campaign an additional $10,000 last year. A critic of the city’s soda tax, she has received contributions from the beverage industry. Other top donors include two real estate developers, a North Philadelphia car repair shop, and an LLC associated with the DiNardos, a Bucks County family who own a construction company.
Top Maria Quiñones Sánchez donors:
- Post 260 Holdco LP (Post Brothers), Philadelphia $15,100
- Elizabeth Beverage Company LLC, New Castle, DE $13,100
- Cosan LLC, Bensalem, Pa. $12,600
- Stronghold Development & Construction LLC, Philadelphia $12,400
- All Time Tire Center 2 LLC, Philadelphia, $12,000
Other notable contributors: Marz Auto, another North Philly auto shape, contributed $11,000. The CEO and another executive at Impact Services, a Kensington community services organization where Sánchez is on the board, gave several donations adding up to $5,350.
Former city controller Rhynhart’s top donors include the firefighters union, the Carpenters and Sheet Metal Workers unions, real estate developer Post Brothers, and a Radnor law firm that frequently contributes to Democratic political candidates.
Top Rebecca Rhynhart donors:
- FIREPAC (Firefighters Local 22), Philadelphia $12,600
- Greater Pa. Carpenters PAC, Philadelphia $12,600
- Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP, Radnor, Pa. $12,600
- Post Commercial RE/Post Terminal (Post Brothers), Philadelphia $12,600
- Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 19, Philadelphia $12,600
Other notable contributions: The Elias Group of Beverly Hills, Ca., gave Rhynhart $12,000, and members of the Lindy family, of Lindy Property Management, contributed $11,100. Wawa and 19 of its employees gave a combined $23,600, including $7,000 in the form of event catering. Executives of the real estate development firm Switzenbaum and Associates gave $9,100, and IBEW Local 98 donated $7,500.
More details on contributors, including donor categories and maps of their locations, are available at the city’s newly unveiled Campaign Finance Dashboard, which is still in beta.
This article has been updated to clarify that several Amen Brown contributions last year were for his state rep reelection campaign, and to note that Gym’s husband no longer works at AmerisourceBergen, per her campaign. In Gym’s list, the contribution amount for Tschumi/Linker has been updated to reflect a refund given. In Rhynhart’s list, the Elias Group was updated with the correct name.