May 16, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Cherelle Parker wins Philly's Democratic mayoral primary

Cherelle Parker

Photo: Courtesy of Cherelle Parker campaign

Cherelle Parker won the Democratic primary for mayor on Tuesday, the AP reports.

Why it matters: Parker’s victory over other well-funded and viable candidates reflects the power of Philly’s Democratic establishment and positions her to become the city’s first female mayor.

State of play: Parker had secured 33% of the vote with 89% of divisions reporting, according to unofficial results Wednesday morning from the Philadelphia City Commissioners office.

  • She'll likely replace Mayor Jim Kenney, given Democrats’ massive voter advantage.

Zoom in: The victory for the former City Councilmember and state representative reinforced the influence of longtime power brokers in the city.

  • Parker got support from deep-pocketed unions, including the regional carpenters' union, Building Trades Council, and IBEW Local 98.
  • She also racked up endorsements from leading Democrats — including City Council President Darrell Clarke, U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans and state Sen. Sharif Street — and won the backing of the majority of political wards.

Details: Parker has embraced the controversial police tactic of stop-and-frisk to help deter crime and urged hiring 300 cops while keeping the police department’s budget flat.

  • She has not taken a firm stance on the Sixers' plan to build a new arena in Center City.

What they’re saying: Parker was hospitalized for a “dental issue that required immediate medical attention” and didn't appear at her campaign party inside a North Philly union hall on Tuesday, per a statement from campaign spokesperson Aren Platt.

  • “It’s been a long road, and to see the tireless work of my campaign team, supporters, and family pay off is humbling,” she tweeted last night. “I’m looking forward to November and bringing our city together as its 100th mayor.”

Zoom out: The primary was a tight race among Parker and four other candidates going into Tuesday, per the latest independent poll.

  • Helen Gym, a former City Councilmember, won support from the city’s growing progressive movement.
  • Rebecca Rhynhart, the former city controller, was backed by three previous Philly mayors.
  • Allan Domb, a former city legislator, is a real estate magnate who funneled more than $10.2 million of his own money into the campaign, per the Inquirer.
  • Jeff Brown, a grocer with a chain of ShopRite and Fresh Grocer stores, also self-funded his campaign with at least $4 million, per the Inquirer.

What’s next: Parker and Republican David Oh move on to the November election.

Editor's note: This story will be updated as news breaks.

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