Broad Street Brief: 2023 Municipal Election Updates; How Philadelphia Democrats Vote; TUGSA Strike Marches Into Fourth Week

February 23, 2023

City Hall

2023 Mayoral Race Update: Building & Construction Trades Council Endorses Parker; What Would it Mean to Become Philadelphia’s First Female Mayor?

On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council announced that it will be throwing its weight behind former City Councilmember and State Representative Cherelle Parker. The endorsement by the council — which comprises 30 different unions across the city — ended up being instrumental during the 2015 and 2019 mayoral elections that saw the victory of current mayor, Jim Kenney, though it remains to be seen how the endorsements that have been made thus far will ultimately impact such a crowded mayoral race. To date, other unions have rallied behind grocery store proprietor Jeff Brown and former Councilmember At-Large Helen Gym.

Meanwhile, given the sheer number of candidates in the race, there are many different ways that Philadelphia’s 100th mayor could end up being historic. One would be for voters to elect one of the four female candidates currently in the race — either former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, or one of the former Council Members, Helen Gym (At-Large), Cherelle Parker (District 9), or Maria Quiñones Sánchez (District 7) — as the position has been a boys’ club for the city’s more than 300-year history. The Philadelphia Inquirer sat down with each of the candidates to discuss their unique perspectives and what it would mean to them to become Philadelphia’s first female mayor.

Council President Clarke Considers Retiring

Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke is considering retiring at the end of this year, though he has not yet made a final decision. Reportedly, outside influences are trying to convince him to run again for the District 5 seat that he has held since 1999. City Council has already undergone a tremendous amount of turnover in recent months due to mayoral run-related resignations. Last week, Curtis Wilkerson, the council president’s chief of staff, took the first steps toward running for his boss’s position.

Nominating Petition Season in Full Swing

Last week officially marked the beginning of petition season, which for candidates for various elected positions could spell the difference between making the ballot and being kicked off. The deadline for securing the requisite number of nominating petition signatures — which is a minimum of 1,000 for most municipal positions, except for district city council seats which is a minimum of 750 — is March 7, which gives candidates and their volunteers and surrogates less than two more weeks. Once the candidates have made the ballot, ballot position is then determined by coffee can lottery.

How Do Philadelphia Democrats Vote, And What Can That Tell Us?

A new analysis of voters’ racial, economic, and geographic characteristics done by The Philadelphia Inquirer has identified six distinct categories that the city’s democrats typically fall into — pro-establishment Black voters, less politically affiliated Black voters, poor voters and Latino voters, working-class white moderate voters, wealthy white liberal voters, and younger white progressive voters. The analysis is based on data that was collected and compiled from the most recent eight primary elections, and could potentially help candidates understand how to strategically build political coalitions and craft messaging to reach specific audiences.

TUGSA Overwhelmingly Votes No on Contract Proposed by University

Earlier this week, members of the Temple University Graduate Students Association (TUGSA) rejected a contract proposed by the university last week, meaning the ongoing strike and attempts at bargaining will resume. More than 92% of members voted against accepting the offer, which included a 10% raise in the first year, 5% the second, 2.5% the third, and 2.25% the fourth, as well as a one-time $1,000 payment for parental and bereavement leave. The raises would bring the average salary of Temple’s graduate teaching and research assistants to $23,500, which union representatives argue is still not enough to live in Philadelphia.


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