Brian Sims Just Dropped Out of the Congressional Race

Here's what it means.

State Rep. Brian Sims

State Rep. Brian Sims

The rumors that have been flying in Philadelphia’s political circles are true: State Rep. Brian Sims is dropping out of the 2nd Congressional District race and endorsing Dwight Evans.

Sims announced the news on Tuesday afternoon. “When I started this campaign it was because I felt Philadelphians deserved an advocate in Congress — someone who would focus on equality for all Americans, creating more and better jobs, and ending the culture of gun violence in our streets,” he said on Facebook. “Having walked the streets of the district, and spoken to thousands of neighbors and constituents, I now feel that my friend and colleague, Dwight Evans, is best equipped to take our fight for justice to Washington, D.C. and will serve Philadelphia well in Congress.”

What kind of impact will this have on the race?

Probably not much of one, really. Sims was seen as an underdog with major challenges to overcome. For one thing, he was running for both Congress and the State House at the same time, which some political insiders thought wouldn’t play well with voters. For another, the 2nd Congressional District is 58 percent black, and Philadelphians tend to vote along racial lines. A poll commissioned by Evans found that only 6 percent of surveyed voters said they would support Sims.

That being said, this could be relatively — and I stress the word “relatively” — good news for two candidates in the race who are also perceived as underdogs: Democratic ward leader Dan Muroff and Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon. That’s because Muroff, Gordon and Sims are all white, and as I mentioned earlier, local voters typically support candidates who look like them. The remaining two candidates in the race — Evans and incumbent U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah — are African-American. The fact that Sims dropped out could be modestly good news for Evans as well, since Sims is backing him. Again, “modestly” is the key word. If Evans’ poll is to be believed, he is already the frontrunner in the race.

Most significantly, this is bad news for candidates running against Sims for his State House seat, including former State Senate aide Ben Waxman, who filed more than 800 signatures last week to get on the ballot and who reported raising a decent chunk of money. It helped Waxman when Sims’ energy was split between two races. Now, that will no longer be the case.