Kendra Brooks

Kendra Brooks at her victory party Tuesday night. — WHYY PHOTO/NATALIE PISERCHIO

A third-party candidate for City Council appeared to have won a historic victory in Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial results from 82% of voting precincts, and African-American female candidates made gains.

Kendra Brooks, a Working Families Party candidate in the at-large City Council race, was on track to capture one of two seats reserved for minority parties on the council.

Brooks, a community organizer, had garnered 46,025 votes by 11:20 p.m., according to unofficial results from 82% of voting precincts. She was followed by Republican David Oh with 36,122 votes. And Brooks' running mate, Nicholas O'Rourke, was less than 1,000 votes behind Oh.

Running a well-funded campaign, Brooks managed to siphon off enough votes to effectively steal a seat that has been held by Republicans since the city adopted its Home Rule Charter in 1952.

The three Democratic at-large council incumbents — Helen Gym, Derek Green and Allan Domb — received enough votes to win re-election, according to unofficial results. Democratic at-large City Council candidates Isaiah Thomas and Katherine Gilmore Richardson also were expected to easily win election.

The victories of Brooks, Gilmore Richardson, Green and Thomas mark the first time four African-Americans have won at-large seats on City Council.

In other firsts for the city, Democrats Rochelle Bilal and Tracey Gordon became the first African-American women elected sheriff and register of wills, respectively. Both unseated long-serving incumbents in their primaries and ran unopposed in the general election.

Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, was expected to win a second term, according to unofficial results. He was trouncing Republican challenger Billy Ciancaglini with 82% to 17% of the vote late Tuesday night.

The six district City Council district incumbents running in contested contests appeared to sweep their challengers, according to unofficial results as of 11:20 p.m.:

  • District 1: Incumbent Mark Squilla, a Democrat, had about 83% of the vote over Republican challenger Daniel Orsino's 17%.
  • District 2: Incumbent Kenyatta Johnson, a Democrat, had about 78% of the vote over Republican challenger Michael Bradley's 21%.
  • District 4: Incumbent Curtis Jones Jr., a Democrat, had 89% of the vote, beating Libertarian Matt Baltsar and Independent Karla Cruel, who received 3% and 8% of the vote, respectively.
  • District 6: Incumbent Bobby Henon, a Democrat, had about 60% of the vote over Republican Pete Smith's 40%.
  • District 8: Incumbent Cindy Bass, a Democrat, had about 80% of the vote over Independent Greg Paulmier's 19%.
  • District 10: In one of the most watched races this election, Republican Brian O’Neill was leading Democrat Judy Moore with 53% to 47% of the vote. O’Neill has held the office since 1980 but was facing his first credible challenger in years.

In the uncontested District 3 City Council race, Jamie Gauthier, a Democrat, was elected to her first term in office. Gauthier will replace long-time West Philadelphia City Council Jannie Blackwell, who Gauthier overcame in the May primary.

City Council Democratic incumbents Darrell Clarke in District 5; Maria Quiñones-Sánchez in District 7, and Cherelle Parker in District 9 won their races unopposed.

(1) comment


Wonderful progress. Keep it up: organizing, demonstrating, educating the community--all great stuff. Keep the power brokers in City Hall, and their corporate partners, honest by forcing them to address, in substantive ways, issues facing communities of color, especially affordable housing.

Re: the mayor's race: the % total that Mayor Kenney obtained--82%--looks like something out of a third world country, but I'm a progressive, so I don't really mind.

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