Daphne Goggins

Daphne Goggins on her front porch in North Philadelphia. — Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY

GOP candidate Daphne Goggins has dropped out of the Philadelphia mayor’s race before her name even got on the ballot.

Goggins, a ward leader from North Philadelphia, became the first African-American woman endorsed for mayor by the city’s Republican Party in February. She also announced she was resigning her ward leader post.

The party briefly reconsidered its endorsement after it came to light Goggins was receiving federal disability benefits, but ultimately decided to stick by her.

Goggins ended her short-lived campaign in a Facebook video Monday evening.

“When I decided to run for mayor, it was truly what I believed God wanted me to do,” she said. “I believed we needed to use such a platform to reach out into the inner city communities and to continue to build the Republican Party because we all know that no Republican can win a citywide election in the city of Philadelphia until we effectively reach out to the minority community.”

Her announcement came on the eve of Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline for candidates to file nominating petitions to get on the May primary ballot. Gathering signatures for those petitions is when the problems began, Goggins said.

“We began to realize that the pathway to 1,000 [signatures] was very slim,” said Goggins, who accused her fellow Republican ward leaders of instructing their committee people not to help her gather signatures in a city where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans nearly seven to one.

“I have come to the conclusion that not only do they not want to grow in the inner city communities, but they are also OK with remaining the minority party in the city of Philadelphia,” she said.

Seeing her support slipping, Goggins said she realized she could not run without the party’s full support, and decided to end her campaign.

Republican Party Chairman Michael Meehan said he had not been aware that Goggins was withdrawing. He said he signed her nominating petition himself and took it to get signatures in his own ward. Meehan also said he told Goggins she “could go anywhere in the city to get the necessary signatures.”

“She is the ward leader of the 16th Ward,” Meehan wrote in an email. “She needs to look in the mirror first.”

South Philadelphia attorney Billy Ciancaglini is expected to file petitions Tuesday for the GOP primary. — (WHYY)

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