Union-backed candidates win big in Philadelphia primary election

Union favorite Jim Kenney won the Democratic nomination and will continue his run to become the next mayor of Philadelphia, almost a foregone conclusion.

He’ll face Republican Melissa Murray Bailey in the general election, though the city traditionally leans left and hasn’t had a Republican mayor in more than 60 years.

“We are not done,” Kenney said at a victory party at Vie restaurant on North Broad Street. “There is another election in November.”

Kenney dominated the field of six Democratic hopefuls in the Philadelphia primary election. He is seen as a popular candidate across the city’s many diverse neighborhoods and Philadelphia’s most political labor unions. He easily thumped Sen. Anthony Williams, who entered the race as the early favorite to win the nomination, and other challengers Lynne Abraham, Nelson Diaz, Doug Oliver and Milton Street.

Among the issues Kenney mentioned in his victory speech: funding universal pre-K, repairing failing community schools, improving the minimum wage, ending stop-and-frisk, and “giving every working family an opportunity to succeed, no matter what neighborhood they live in,” he said.

Kenney, who served on the Philadelphia City Council for 23 years before he joined the mayoral race, was a favorite among the city’s big labor unions, including the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

PFT President Jerry Jordan stood behind Kenney during his victory speech, which opened with Kenney thanking the city’s first responders and “all Philadelphia teachers.”

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