With dizzying array of candidates, who has the edge in City Council-at-large Democratic primary?

Pat Loeb
May 16, 2019 - 4:00 am
City Hall, Philadelphia.

Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia Democrats will face a dizzying ballot next Tuesday in the primary election. There are 30 judicial candidates for nine seats on three courts; 13 candidates for two city commissioner slots. But the largest race is for City Council-at-large, where 28 candidates are vying for five seats.

Incumbents always have an advantage, and there are three in the race: Helen Gym, Allan Domb and Derek Green. But in such a crowded field for an office near the bottom of the ballot, they may need more than incumbency. 

Gym pulled a good ballot position - third on the list - and she's raised half a million dollars. She also has two important endorsements: one from the City Committee and other from the Black Clergy. 

Domb and Green have terrible ballot positions, and while both are endorsed by the committee, neither made the Black Clergy's list. 

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Domb, though, has a campaign fund larger than any of the mayoral candidates and he and Green are backed by a pro-development PAC, Philly for Growth. 

Domb has contributed so much of his own money to his campaign, that contribution limits have been doubled for all the candidates. 

Green, who is in the middle of the ballot with fewer funds on hand, is perhaps the most vulnerable of the three.

Aside from incumbents, the Democratic City Committee endorsed Kathy Richardson, a former aide to the retiring Blondell Reynolds Brown, and Isaiah Thomas, a young activist already in his third council race. Both are also backed by the Black Clergy and Richardson is also backed by Philly for Growth. 

Thomas, 36, has already run twice before and was an upstart in his first race but is a serious contender now.  

But other candidates have raised more money and are serious threats.