The Brief: Democrats to Endorse Openly Gay Council Candidate for First Time Ever

But what is the city committee's support really worth these days?

Sherrie Cohen | Photo via Cohen's Facebook

Sherrie Cohen | Photo via Cohen’s Facebook

Bob Brady, chairman of Philadelphia’s Democratic City Committee, says City Council At-Large candidate Sherrie Cohen is expected to win the party’s endorsement.

Cohen tells us the policy arm of the city committee recommended her for an endorsement Saturday. She expects the full party to ratify the decision next month.

That could be a deciding factor in the City Council At-Large race (which, in all seriousness, is more interesting than the mayor’s race some days).

It means ward leaders across Philadelphia would help turn out the vote for Cohen. Yes, some ward leaders could cut her from the all-important sample ballots they hand out to voters, but many would fall in line.

It also would be a victory for the city’s LGBT community. Cohen is openly gay, and LGBT leaders have been pushing hard for the city committee to endorse an out candidate for the first time in its history.

But the endorsement wouldn’t be an ironclad guarantee that Cohen does well at the polls, simply because there are several other serious candidates in the race. For instance, City Council At-Large candidate Helen Gym has the support of the teachers union. Isaiah Thomas also has labor support as well as the backing of some Council incumbents, while Paul Steinke was the top fundraiser in the race last year. Meanwhile, Allan Domb, a/k/a the Center City “condo king,” could drop a nuclear bomb on everyone if he heavily funded his own campaign.

Another wild card: Which Council candidates will the dark-money outfit Philadelphia 3.0 support? That group’s spending could diminish, at least to some extent, the city committee’s potency.

In other words, the City Council At-Large race will be a test of how much the local Democratic Party’s support is really worth in 2015.

Don’t Miss …
  • On Monday, we may find out if Stephanie Singer‘s career as City Commissioner is over. After a successful ballot challenge, Common Pleas Judge Joel Johnson determined she has only 996 legit signatures on her nominating petitions. She needs 1,000 to get on the ballot. Johnson gave her campaign until Monday to file motions to try to bring her back from the dead.
  • Ron Castille, the former chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, is considering running against Attorney General Kathleen Kane next year. The city’s Republican Party tried to recruit him to jump into the mayor’s race this year, but he declined.
  • Curious about who, exactly, Melissa Murray Bailey is? Oh, never heard of her? She’s the sole Republican running for mayor (who was, until recently, was a Democrat). The Daily News sat down with the hopeful for a Q&A. “The first question a lot of people have asked me [is], ‘How much money do you have? Are you independently wealthy? Who is going to be backing you?'” she says. “I think that prevents people with a lot of really good ideas form putting themselves forward.”
  • Here’s who might be in the running to replace Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey next year under the city’s new mayor.
  • The Daily NewsWill Bunch and the Inquirer‘s Chris Hepp have two worthy takes on the state of the mayor’s race right now.