Jan 21, 2022 - Politics

Philly Councilmember Bobby Henon resigned. Now what?

Philadelphia City Councilmember Bobby Henon walks to the federal courthouse in Philadelphia on Nov. 10, 2021. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP

Philadelphia City Councilmember Bobby Henon walks to the federal courthouse in Philadelphia on Nov. 10, 2021. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP

Bobby Henon's Philadelphia City Council seat is officially vacant.

Driving the news: The now-former 6th District councilmember resigned Thursday, a month before his sentencing for federal charges related to corruption and conspiracy.

  • Council President Darrell Clarke has not yet set a date for a special election to fill the seat. But here's what comes next.

How it works: Democratic and Republican ward leaders in Henon's Northeast Philadelphia district will nominate their party's candidate to complete the remainder of Henon's term, which is up in 2024.

  • The Libertarian and Green Parties also can nominate candidates, while other third parties must circulate nominating petitions.
  • Once the special election is held, residents of the 6th District who are eligible to vote will be able to cast ballots for their choice.
  • The winner will be sworn-in some time after the special election is certified, which takes at least 20 days.

Zoom out: Henon has held the 6th District seat since 2012 and continues to serve as a Democratic ward leader.

  • Democrats have held the seat for decades.

Between the lines: Democratic State Rep. Michael Driscoll is favored to get his party’s nomination, said Alan Butkovitz, a former city controller and Democratic ward leader in Henon's district.

  • "Everybody is talking to each other and assumes it's him," Butkovitz said, referring to Driscoll.
  • Butkovitz said other potential candidates wouldn’t be able to garner enough support among ward leaders in the closed-door vote.

Of note: The Philadelphia City Democratic Committee and Driscoll didn't return requests seeking comment.

Meanwhile, Republican ward leaders are expected to convene this weekend to consider and review candidates for the special election, said GOP city committee chairwoman and state Rep. Martina White.

  • White was hopeful Republicans could take the 6th District seat.
  • "We're ready to go. … We are going to go after every single vote, and we've been engaging in that community for quite some time," she said.

What to watch: Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson's trial on federal corruption charges was rescheduled to March 21. He has pleaded not guilty.

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