All 17 seats on Philadelphia City Council are up for grabs every four years. This year, the election will bring a bunch of new faces to the city’s governing body.

On Nov. 7, Philly voters will elect at least four newcomers, and up to three members who’ve spent less than a year in the job so far. That’s thanks to six (!) councilmembers resigning to run for mayor and Council President Darrell Clarke’s decision to retire.  

Council seats are broken into two categories: at-large and district.

Though considered slightly less powerful than district seats, at-large seats hold less pressure and can provide a bully pulpit — and there are lots of contenders for the seven seats, which are are elected citywide. 

Nine candidates are on the ballot this November: five Democrats, two Republicans, and two members of the Working Families Party. As a voter, you’ll be able to pick up to five — of any party. The seven candidates with the most votes overall will win.

At-large Council candidates

Choose a candidate below to learn more about them

Nina Ahmad

Kendra Brooks
Incumbent, Working Families Party

Katherine Gilmore Richardson
Incumbent, Democrat

Jim Harrity
Incumbent, Democrat

Jim Hasher

Rue Landau

Drew Murray

Nicholas O’Rourke
Working Families Party

Isaiah Thomas
Incumbent, Democrat

Per the city charter, each political party is allowed to put a max of five candidates on the general election ballot, which effectively means at least two different political parties will be represented on City Council. 

Philly voters are overwhelmingly Democratic, so that usually means the five Democrats on the ballot win, plus two other candidates. But the system could theoretically yield a different partisan mix, according to Nick Custodio, a deputy city commissioner.

“Historically, it’s been like 5-2, or 5-1-1,” Custodio told Billy Penn. “But it is set up so that it doesn’t have to be. It could be 4-2-1 … though historically, it hasn’t.”

In 2019, five Democrats, one Republican, and one Working Families Party candidate won at-large seats. This year, a big question is whether the Working Families Party will totally edge out Republicans, who lack any at-large incumbents.

District councilmembers are elected by — you guessed it! — their districts. Philly is divided up geographically into 10 of them. Find your district by typing your address into this tool.

Most of those races are uncontested this year, so many voters won’t have any choices to make here (unless you want to write someone in).

District Council newcomer candidates

Choose a candidate below to learn more about them

Jeffrey “Jay” Young
Democrat, District 5

Gary Masino
Democrat, District 10

Jabari Jones
West is Best, District 3

The exceptions: Voters in the District 3 (parts of West and Southwest Philly) will get to choose between Democratic incumbent Jamie Gauthier and challenger Jabari Jones, running on the “West is Best” ticket. Philadelphians in District 10 (parts of Northeast Philly) will have the opportunity to choose between longtime Republican incumbent Brian O’Neill and Democratic challenger Gary Masino. Also, in District 5 (parts of North Philly), Democrat Jeffrey “Jay” Young is a newcomer, but the only person on the ballot.

Check out the candidate profiles above to get to know everyone running in the at-large race, plus the newcomers aiming for a district seat.

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...