John Street

Former Mayor John Street, shown at a training center groundbreaking in December, is backing Anthony Williams in the city's mayoral primary next month. - PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE PHOTO/ABDUL R. SULAYMAN

Former two-term mayor John Street will announce during a Thursday afternoon press conference that he is supporting state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams in his bid to unseat incumbent Mayor Jim Kenney, multiple sources close to Street told the Tribune Wednesday.

Street, who served as City Council President for 19 years before he was elected to serve two terms as mayor (2000 to 2008), did not endorse Williams in his 2015 run against fellow Democrat Kenney.

However, Street believes the city has shown signs of deterioration under Kenney's first term, multiple sources close to Street said.

During the press conference in North Philadelphia, Street is expected to level attacks on Kenney's signature legislation, the sweetened beverage tax; Kenney's push for a supervised injection site in Kensington; the spike in homicides over the last two years; and the continued struggles of the School District of Philadelphia.

Williams has assailed Kenney's record in those areas.

Former City Controller Alan Butkovitz, who also is running in the Democratic primary for mayor, also has criticized Kenney in those areas and accused him of practicing racial double standards.

The Philadelphia Democratic Committee voted last week to endorse Kenney, and committee chairman Bob Brady said he hopes Williams will withdraw from the race.

The primary election is on May 21.

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