How Johnny Doc Almost Took Out Maria Quiñones-Sánchez

Sanchez-Doc

From L to R: Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and electricians union leader John Dougherty.

How in the world did an allegedly gay-hating, voter ID-loving racist who no one has ever heard of nearly beat an incumbent Democratic Councilwoman who both John Street and Bill Green III believe will be mayor one day?

That question has stumped political insiders since the Philadelphia primary battle between Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, the two-term Councilwoman, and Manny Morales, whose Facebook page likened gay men to flatworms and did a whole lot of other crazy stuff. Sánchez won the election with only 53 percent of the vote.

Reporter Max Marin offers a potential answer in Al Dia that is pretty intriguing — and which has big implications for the Sánchez’s political future. Read more »

The Brief: Millennials Didn’t Vote This Year, Like At All

Election Day in Philadelphia | Photo by AP/Matt Rourke

Election Day in Philadelphia | Photo by AP/Matt Rourke

1. Voter turnout among millennials was abysmal in the mayoral election.

The gist: Only 12 percent of registered voters between the ages of 18 and 34 cast a ballot in Philadelphia’s mayoral election, according to newly released data from the City Commissioners office. Millennials make up the largest bloc of registered voters in the city, though you wouldn’t know it on Election Day. As BillyPenn reported, “There are 71,000 more registered millennials than people age 35-to-49, 82,000 more than people age 50-to-64 and 140,000 more than people age 65 and up. And yet those respective age groups beat the millennials in voter turnout by about 20,000, 53,000 and 42,000.” Read more »

Will Jim Kenney and Council Play Nice?

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The next mayor of Philadelphia is going to face massive challenges: A horribly underfunded pension system, a poverty rate higher than that of any other big city in the country, and a school district stuck in a seemingly never-ending budget crisis.

Oh, and City Council.

Sure, if Democratic mayoral nominee Jim Kenney wins the general election as expected, he and most City Council members will share the same political party (because this is Philadelphia, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 7 to 1; plus, lots of Democratic lawmakers are running unopposed in the fall). But being on the same team is no guarantee that Council and Kenney will get along, as Mayor Michael Nutter knows all too well.

In recent years, Council has expanded its reach by a wide margin. It hired its own lobbyist in Harrisburg, planned a total reorganization of city government, and killed Nutter’s proposed sale of Philadelphia Gas Works, to name just a few examples of its muscle-flexing.

Does Kenney have what it takes to work with City Council? He’ll need to have a productive relationship with lawmakers in order to push through his progressive agenda, which includes expanding pre-K, developing so-called “community schools,” and raising the minimum wage. Read more »

13 Biggest Winners and Losers in Tuesday’s Election

Some of Election Day's biggest winners and losers. From L to R: John Dougherty, Dwight Evans and Bill Green.

Some of Election Day’s biggest winners and losers. From L to R: John Dougherty, Dwight Evans and Bill Green.

There were the obvious winners and losers in Tuesday’s election. In the mayoral race, Jim Kenney eviscerated the competition, while Anthony Williams lost by a downright embarrassing margin. In the City Council At-Large race, challengers Allan Domb, Helen Gym and Derek Green beat a number of formidable opponents, while Council members Ed Neilson and W. Wilson Goode, Jr. lost despite having the power of incumbency on their side.

But what about the other winners and losers — the issues, interest groups and behind-the-scenes players — in the election?
Read more »

The Single Weirdest Campaign Donation in the Philly Mayor’s Race

Jim Kenney | Photo by Jeff Fusco

Jim Kenney | Photo by Jeff Fusco

A strange thing happened last week.

Campaign finance reports revealed that an Edison, N.J-based group called the “Carpenters’ Fund for Growth and Prosperity” donated $750,000 this spring to a political committee known as “The Turnout Project.” Not long after that, The Turnout Project cut checks totaling $725,000 to Building a Better Pa., a super PAC that is supporting Jim Kenney in the Philadelphia mayoral race and which is partly funded by the city’s powerful electricians union.

Stay with me now. I promise it gets weird. See, the Philadelphia carpenters union has endorsed another candidate for mayor: state Sen. Anthony Williams. As in, um, Kenney’s chief opponent. Labor groups from out of town don’t typically jump into a city election to help fuel a super PAC that is propping up the No. 1 rival of the candidate backed by their union brothers.

It only gets stranger from there. WTF is going on? Read more »

The Brief: Why the “Philly Is Baltimore” Protest Was Mostly Peaceful

The "Philly Is Baltimore" protest | Photo by Victor Fiorillo

A scene from the “Philly Is Baltimore” protest | Photo by Victor Fiorillo

1. The “Philly Is Baltimore” Protest Was “Tensely Peaceful,” and That’s a Good Thing

The Gist: After riots and looting broke out this week in Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, state Sen. Anthony Williams said Philadelphia is “sitting on a powder keg.” District Attorney Seth Williams said “at any given time, anything could happen.” Thankfully, though, Thursday’s “Philly Is Baltimore” protest was, according to news reports, largely peaceful. Philadelphia magazine’s Victor Fiorillo, who was there, called it “tensely peaceful” and said “as of 11 p.m., we’d only heard about a handful of arrests.”

Read more »

The Brief: Johnny Doc’s Giant Helping Hand to His Supreme Court Candidate Brother Kevin Dougherty

1. Kevin Dougherty—Johnny Doc’s Brother—Is Amassing a Huge Warchest for His Supreme Court Campaign. Want to Guess Where a Lot of That Money Comes From?

The Gist: The Inquirer reports that Kevin Dougherty raised $707,931 through March, including at least $302,000 from IBEW Local 98, the union controlled by his brother John Dougherty. Kevin Dougherty’s total is $131,481 more than the other party-endorsed Democrat in the race, David Wecht, and $161,051 more than the best-funded GOP candidate, Michael George. Read more »

The Brief: Why Have City Dems Endorsed a Council Candidate Whose Facebook Page Compared Gay Men to Flatworms?

Maria Quinones-Sanchez | Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Maria Quinones-Sanchez. Not the tapeworm candidate. | Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

María Quiñones-Sánchez is one of the more consequential members of Philadelphia’s City Council. She was the driving force behind the new land bank. She’s gotten major small business-friendly tax reform legislation enacted. She just pushed through a charter amendment that, if approved by voters, would require all city departments and agencies to have plans in place to serve city residents who don’t speak English. And that’s to name just a few of her accomplishments. Read more »

The Brief: Anthony Williams Scores Another Union Endorsement

Willie Brown

TWU Local 234 president Willie Brown

SEPTA’s Transport Workers Union Local 234 announced Thursday it is endorsing state Sen. Anthony Williams for mayor.

“Throughout his career, Tony Williams has dedicated himself to fighting for the good of all Philadelphians,” said TWU Local 234 President Willie Brown in a statement. “He has been on the front lines working to bring people together. He’s a consensus builder and problem solver with the skills that will be required of the next mayor to meet the challenges of this city.”

Williams also already has the endorsements of the carpenters union and the Teamsters in the bag.

Read more »

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