Kenney Easily Wins Democratic Nomination for Second Term

Which means, of course, the mayor will get a second term in November.


Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Get ready for four more years of Mayor Jim Kenney, Philly.

Unofficial primary election results are in — and Kenney won the Democratic nomination for mayor in a landslide on Tuesday.

With roughly 85 percent of precincts reporting around 10 p.m., Kenney had collected about 66 percent of the vote. His opponents, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams and former city controller Alan Butkovitz, had received nearly 24 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

Kenney’s victory isn’t particularly surprising: No incumbent Philly mayor has lost a primary since the city’s Home Rule Charter established a two-term limit for the office seven decades ago.

Throughout the campaign season, both Williams and Butkovitz were particularly critical of the mayor’s record on poverty, crime, and the opioid crisis, and framed the election as a referendum on Kenney’s major accomplishment: the soda tax, which both challengers promised to repeal if elected. They also criticized Kenney’s support of supervised injection sites.

Williams characterized himself as a “grassroots” candidate who had learned from mistakes made during his 2015 mayoral campaign. As of 10 p.m., unofficial results indicated that he wasn’t likely to perform any better at the polls this time around. Butkovitz’s strategy, meanwhile, largely focused on derailing Kenney.

Kenney — likely banking on his incumbent status — did comparatively little in the way of campaigning. He showed up for only two debates with Williams and Butkovitz.  You can read our recap of the sole televised debate of the race right here.) Instead, the mayor had said he was busy … being the mayor.

The mayor will face off against Republican challenger Billy Ciancaglini in November — and, in this heavily Democratic city, would have to really work at losing. Ciancaglini, a defense attorney from South Philly, was the sole Republican candidate on the ballot. He opposes the soda tax and Philly’s so-called “sanctuary city” status.