Some Philadelphia district council seats could be real fight at the polls

Pat Loeb
May 18, 2019 - 4:00 am
close up of campaign voting flag pins on white

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania's primary is this Tuesday and in Philadelphia, that means voters will choose nominees for most city offices, including mayor and city council. It's an uphill battle for candidates who want to challenge any of the incumbent district council members.  

Jannie Blackwell has been the Third District council member since 1992. She so rarely has an opponent, she usually doesn't even bother to fund raise, until this year.

Former Fairmount Park conservancy leader Jamie Gauthier has mounted a vigorous challenge, including digital ads that the campaign says are attracting voters.

Blackwell is treating the challenge as a nuisance and blames Gauthier for protests at some community meetings.

Four other district council members have primary opponents, but only Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez appears to have a real fight. She's being challenged by state representative Angel Cruz. He admits his motivation for running is to unseat her.

Related: Philly's Democratic primary: A look at who could upset endorsed candidates

“She just doesn't know how to work with other people,” he said. “She does whatever she wants to do and we have to learn how to live with it."

“I can stand in any block in the district and say, 'Here we worked with these people, here we work with this church, here we worked with this organization, here we're working with this school,'" the councilwoman said.

Sanchez, in her third term, says she clashes with Cruz because they have different values. Cruz, with 20 years in the state house, agrees on that point.