Sep 7, 2022 - Politics

Candidates rush into race to replace Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney

Derek Green and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez

Derek Green and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez. Photos courtesy of Green and Quiñones-Sánchez

The race for Philly's next mayor starts now.

Driving the news: A pair of Democratic city lawmakers — Derek Green and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez — officially resigned from City Council and launched bids for the May 2023 mayoral primary on Tuesday.

  • Three of the 17 seats on City Council are now vacant.

Why it matters: Our city's next mayor will confront a series of significant challenges from Day 1, including a gun violence crisis, soaring opioid overdose rates, a shortage of affordable housing and lingering issues related to the pandemic.

Between the lines: The winner of the Democratic primary typically goes on to win the general election, as Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans in the city. And Democrats' mayoral primary is expected to be crowded.

  • City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart and Allan Domb, who resigned his City Council seat in August, are weighing bids for mayor.
  • Several others are said to be considering a run, including supermarket owner Jeff Brown and a handful of City Council members.

What they're saying: Both Green and Quiñones-Sánchez have listed public safety, affordable housing and economic development among their top priorities.

  • Green, a lawyer and former prosecutor, first took his at-large seat on City Council in 2016. He told Axios he was instrumental in crafting a budget deal this year that reduced the city's wage and business taxes.
  • "Philadelphians should expect more and deserve better from our city," he said.

Quiñones-Sánchez has represented North Philly's District 7 on City Council since 2008.

  • Quiñones-Sánchez, who is Puerto Rican, told Axios she has the lived and legislative experiences to help create opportunities for historically marginalized communities, and to make the city safer and more affordable.
  • "We want to move away from the 'Philly shrug,'" she said.

Zoom in: Each offered takes on how to improve public safety, as homicides are on track to reach an all-time high for a second year in a row.

  • Quiñones-Sánchez said her plan includes more surveillance cameras, and updates to Police Department policies and training.
  • Green said the city can "reduce gun violence in our city without violating the rights of our citizens." He added that more economic opportunities would reduce violence and help address other issues, like affordable housing.

What's next: Special elections to fill all three vacancies on the city Legislature have yet to be scheduled.


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