By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, May 17, 2023
In the open Philadelphia mayor’s race, a contest that polling consistently showed as many as five candidates having a chance to win the Democratic primary, the final result proved decisive. Former Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker captured the party nomination in rather easy fashion, a 33-23-22-11-9 percent margin over former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, ex-City Councilmember Helen Gym, former City Councilman Allan Domb, and businessman Jeff Brown. All of the candidates are “formers” because Philadelphia has a resign-to-run ordinance in effect for city officials.
Parker campaigned as a centrist who said she wants to “stop the sense of lawlessness that is plaguing our city.” She campaigned in favor of increasing law enforcement budgets and personnel and cracking down on the city’s rapidly increasing crime rate. She attracted much of the Philadelphia political establishment’s support. Term-limited Mayor Jim Kenney (D), while not endorsing anyone in the race, said he cast his own ballot for Parker.
Unfortunately, Parker was not at her victory party because she suffered what was termed a “dental emergency,” and was last night instead receiving treatment at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.
The candidate attracting the most support from the vocal progressive left movement, including endorsements from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was Ms. Gym. She, however, failed to meet expectations with a disappointing third place performance.
Before winning her City Council election in 2015,Parker served five terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She now advances to the general election to face former at-large City Councilman David Oh, who was unopposed for the Republican nomination. In a city with a 7:1 Democratic majority, Parker will be a heavy favorite, but Oh, who has won three citywide elections, will bring forth a credible campaign.
In Pennsylvania state House of Representatives special elections, both parties won vacant seats they previously held. That means the Democrats’ one-seat majority will remain intact.
Yemi Mobolade, the Independent candidate who was the city’s Small Business Development Administrator and a native of Nigeria, easily won the Colorado Springs mayoral runoff to succeed term-limited Mayor John Suthers (R). Mobolade’s victory margin was 57-43 percent. He defeated former Secretary of State Wayne Williams (R).
Mobolade is an interesting candidate in that he comes from a socialist country, yet emphasizes business, community and leadership development, entrepreneurship, and ministry, according to his campaign bio sheet.
In a victory for Democrats, converting a mayor’s office that had resided in Republican hands, former local news anchor Donna Deegan scored a 52-48 percent victory over Chamber of Commerce CEO Daniel Davis (R).
The race is being tabbed an upset since the Republicans held the mayor’s office for the past eight years in the person of term-limited incumbent Lenny Curry, but Democrats outnumber Republicans in the city’s voter registration numbers despite the latter party now having a 400,000-plus person advantage statewide.
Blue Grass State Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who former President Donald Trump endorsed last year, easily won the Republican gubernatorial nomination with 48 percent of the vote over 11 opponents. He will now face Gov. Andy Beshear who was renominated in the Democratic primary with 91 percent voter preference.
Polling suggested a much closer finish, and that former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft, who outspent Cameron by a 10:1 margin, would secure second place. She fell to third in the final vote, however, with just 17 percent support. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, who began the race buried in the second tier, was the candidate who gained the most momentum against Cameron. He rose to second place recording 22 percent.
Curiously, on Election eve, even though the state’s three-day early voting period had closed, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an endorsement for Craft. Considering that polling was showing a downward trend for Craft, Gov. DeSantis still publicized his late endorsement ostensibly to position himself opposite of Trump. Therefore, it’s difficult to see what he gained by coming in at the very end to back a candidate who was so likely to lose.