Democrats sweep Philadelphia City Council seats
Democrats dominated Philadelphia's special elections for four open City Council seats.
Driving the news: Democrats Jim Harrity and Sharon Vaughn won the two at-large seats over Republicans Drew Murray and Jim Hasher, according to unofficial city election results.
- In respective District 7 and 9 races, Democrats Quetcy Lozada and Anthony Phillips prevailed over Republicans James Whitehead and Roslyn Ross.
The big picture: The political dynamics of the legislature remain unchanged.
- The four new faces will replace fellow Democrats, who will return to holding 14 of the 17 seats on City Council.
- The outcome was largely expected as registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by a nearly 7-to-1 margin in the city.
State of play: Challenges are awaiting the freshman legislators as soon as they take office.
- The city is struggling with record-levels of homicides and shootings, a worsening opioid epidemic and an affordable housing crisis.
About the winners: Harrity is the Pennsylvania Democratic Party's political director and a former staffer to state Sen. Sharif Street.
- Vaughn, former chief of staff for ex-Councilmember Derek Green, has been involved in local politics for three decades working for councilmembers from the Northwest.
- After serving as her chief of staff, Lozada assumes the seat of her former boss, María Quiñones Sánchez, while Phillips, the executive director of the nonprofit Youth Action, takes over the seat representing parts of North and Northwest Philly.
Catch up fast: Council President Darrell Clarke called for special elections after four council members resigned, most of whom are running in next year's mayoral election.
- The addition of special elections delayed the sending of mail-in ballots, but Clarke signaled it was important for the governing body to maintain veto power over outgoing Mayor Jim Kenney.
- Each party nominated candidates to serve 1-year terms ahead of next year's race, when all of council and the mayor's terms expire.
What's next: New members are expected to be sworn in around the end of November after the results of the election are certified.
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