Philadelphia U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah resigned Thursday after apparently realizing that Republicans (and, hell, even some Democrats) weren’t cool with his plan to stick around for an extra three months after being convicted of corruption.
Soon, Gov. Tom Wolf might schedule a special election to fill Fattah’s seat in the 2nd Congressional District — and if he does, things could get messy.
During special elections, a/k/a/ elections held to replace officials who quit or die or are sent to prison before the end of their term, ward leaders choose the nominees. In Philadelphia, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 7-to-1, that means Democratic ward leaders essentially handpick the winners of every special election. (That’s how we do it in the birthplace of American democracy, everybody!) You might think Democratic state Rep. Dwight Evans would be the natural pick for ward leaders here: Evans defeated Fattah in the April primary, and is expected to win the general election against Republican James Jones.
But don’t be so sure: I asked Philadelphia Democratic Party boss Bob Brady if Evans would have enough support among leaders to be nominated if a special election were held. “I don’t know if there’s enough support,” he said, “but there will be [some] support for him.”
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