Why Voter Turnout Sucked in Philly’s Mayoral Race

APTOPIX America Votes

Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

1. Voter turnout in Philadelphia wasn’t always so pitiful.

The gist: Only 27 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in Philadelphia’s mayoral primary last week. It wasn’t always like this. In 1991, 49 percent of Philly voters came to the polls. In 1987, 67 percent did; in 1971, a stunning 77 percent did. Other big cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and New York have also seen voter turnout plummet in municipal elections over the past few decades. CityLab’s Daniel Denvir has a theory about why that may be: Read more »

Bill Green Finally Gets to Be Mayor, Thanks to Daily News Error


Much has been written about Bill Green IV’s mayoral aspirations. And Tuesday’s primary didn’t exactly lend a helping hand to the Councilman-at-Large turned ousted School Reform Commission chairman’s political future, what with two of his avowed enemies, Jim Kenney and Helen Gym, scoring big victories. But thanks to the Daily News, Green has finally been declared mayor. Read more »

Jim Kenney Wins in Historic Landslide

Jim Kenney accepts the Democratic nomination for mayor. | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Jim Kenney accepts the Democratic nomination for mayor. | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Updated 5/20/2015 with nearly final election results.

Jim Kenney won the Democratic mayoral primary in dominating fashion Tuesday night, capturing neighborhoods across the city in a showing that proved his appeal to low- and high-income voters, to blacks and whites, to Philadelphians new and old.

Kenney defeated chief rival Anthony Williams by a staggering margin of 30 percentage points. Lynne Abraham collected less than 10 percent of the vote. Doug Oliver and Nelson Diaz were around four percent, and Milton Street stood at less than two percent.

This was a shellacking. Kenney’s percentage point margin of victory is the largest of any competitive Democratic mayoral primary since at least 1979.

“Our campaign was a broad and unprecedented coalition of diverse groups, many of whom came together for the first time to support me,” Kenney said in his brisk victory speech, with prominent labor and political supporters at his back. “We must work together with the understanding that every neighborhood matters.”

The victory comes with a significant asterisk: low voter turnout. Only 27 percent of all registered voters cast ballots. Democratic turnout was hardly any better, at just 29 percent.

Read more »

Sam Katz: I’m Not Running for Mayor

By the inimitable @dhm.

By the amazing @dhm

Sam Katz is not running for mayor in the general election, he announced Tuesday.

Why does that matter? It’s much less likely now that Philadelphia will have a competitive mayoral race this fall. That means the winner of the primary election next week — yes, it’s next week — will probably be our next mayor.

Katz, who would have run as an Independent, is a three-time mayoral candidate who came within an inch of beating John Street in the 1999 election.

The lone Republican candidate, on the other hand, is Melissa Murray Bailey, who was a registered Democrat until this January and raised a paltry $4,900 so far in 2015.

It is possible that Bill Green, a member of the School Reform Commission, could run for mayor in the general election. He switched his party registration in March from Democrat to “no affiliation” in order to “leave all the doors open to me for the fall.” But Green said it is ultimately “unlikely” that he will run for mayor (or City Council, for that matter).

Here’s Katz’s full statement on his decision: Read more »

Sam Katz, Bill Green and Milton Street Walk Into a Bar…

Bill Green Sam Katz Milton Street

Not boring.

Let’s stipulate up front that whoever wins the Democratic nomination for mayor this May is the heavy favorite to be elected in November’s general election. That’s just the way it works in a city where 80 percent of registered voters are Democrats and a lot of the deep-pocketed donors are (excruciatingly) wary of bucking the likely winner.

Nonetheless, recent developments in the mayoral campaign are making it far more likely that Philadelphia will see a legitimate contest this Fall. The farce of 2007, when genial GOP mayoral nominee Al Taubenberger more or less spent his campaign talking about what a great guy Michael Nutter was, is not likely to be repeated. Read more »

The Brief: The 5 Council At-Large Candidates With the Best Signatures Game

Philadelphia City Council  | Photo Credit: City Council's Flickr page

Philadelphia City Council | Photo Credit: City Council’s Flickr page

A candidate has the opportunity to flex some muscle while collecting signatures for nominating petitions.

You only need to gather 1,000 legit signatures to get on the May 19th primary ballot for citywide office — but if a candidate amasses significantly more than that, they can theoretically inoculate themselves from a legal challenge and show the city that they’ve got a good ground operation. (Again, at least in theory. U.S. Rep. Bob Brady led the pack in signatures among mayoral candidates during the 2007 campaign, only to lose in the primary.)

March 17th is the deadline to file a legal challenge against a candidate over their nominating petitions. We told you how many signatures the mayoral hopefuls collected. What about the candidates in the second-most interesting race in town, the Democratic City Council At-Large tussle?

Read more »

Bill Green for Mayor? For Council? For Anything?


Bill Green is the son of a Democratic mayor and the grandson of a Democratic congressman and city party chairman. He’s also a lifelong Democrat.

Or he used to be, at any rate. Yesterday, Green—a former City Councilman and current School Reform Commissioner—switched his party registration from Democrat to “no affiliation,” as first reported by the Inquirer’s Chris Brennan.

Why? “I just wanted to leave all the doors open to me for the fall,” Green said. Read more »

The Brief: Happy Ballot Challenge Season!


We’ve officially entered that most wonderful time of year: Ballot Challenge Season.

To get on the May 19th primary ballot, a candidate running for citywide office in Philadelphia must get at least 1,000 voters to sign their nomination petitions. That paperwork must be filed by today, March 10th.

But the signatures can’t come from just anyone: They must be from registered voters of the candidate’s party. Each voter must write out their full name, address and the date on the petition, in addition to their signature. If any of these items are missing or somehow flawed, a candidate is leaving themselves open to a legal challenge from another campaign. Because why beat the competition in an open election when you can eliminate them beforehand?

Read more »

Green Won’t Challenge Wolf’s SRC Decision

Bill Green, last week at district headquarters after Gov. Wolf removed him from SRC chairmanship.

Bill Green, last week at district headquarters after Gov. Wolf removed him from the SRC chairmanship.

Bill Green said this afternoon he will not mount a legal challenge to Gov. Wolf’s dismissal of him as chair of the School Reform Commission, saying he did not want to undermine support for the Philadelphia School District. But he said he still believes Wolf overstepped his authority in removing him from the chair and replacing him with fellow SRC member Marjorie Neff.

“Lawsuits can wait,” Green said in a press release. “Harmony needs to prevail.” Read more »

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