Cherelle Parker joins mayor’s race, leaves Council

Cherelle Parker
Cherelle Parker resigned from Council on Wednesday and is running for mayor.
Jack Tomczuk

Cherelle Parker is running for mayor, becoming the third City Councilmember to resign this week in order to enter the 2023 Democratic primary election to replace term-limited Jim Kenney.

Parker served as Council’s majority leader — the body’s second-highest rank — and represented the Ninth District, which covers parts of Mount Airy, Oak Lane and the Lower Northeast.

“I am ready to step up and lead the City of Philadelphia,” Parker said Wednesday afternoon on social media.

She joins a race that already includes her former colleagues Derek Green and Maria Quinones Sanchez, who both stepped down from Council on Tuesday. Elected officials in Philadelphia are required to resign before officially campaigning.

At-large member Allan Domb, another Democrat, left City Hall last month to seriously consider a run; however, he has not yet announced whether he will enter the primary.

Before municipal budget negotiations began in the spring, Parker published a public safety plan calling on the Kenney administration to bring on 300 additional police officers and raise the PPD’s annual recruitment budget from under $11,000 to $1 million.

“I am proud of the fact that I have never been afraid for Philadelphia to be safer and cleaner and putting people on a path to self-sufficiency, and I am going to continue to be an advocate for putting police on our streets,” Parker told WHYY on Wednesday.

Council’s final budget incorporated $250,000 to recruit police cadets.

Parker, who lives in Mount Airy, was elected in 2015, and, prior to her tenure in City Hall, spent a decade as a state representative, serving as the leader of the Philadelphia delegation.

“Councilmember Parker is a hard worker and strong advocate for her constituents and the city at large,” Council President Darrell Clarke said in a statement. “I knew I could always count on Cherelle Parker to work to assemble the votes we needed to pass legislation benefiting all Philadelphians. She will be missed.”

When Clarke presides over Council’s first session later this month, the body will be down four members, and likely more, with others reportedly considering mayoral runs.

Clarke has the authority to declare a special election to fill the former members’ terms, and, if he chooses to do so, could have the races added to November’s general election. In that case, party leaders would determine nominees for the positions.

Council leaders typically prioritize filling district seats, since those members have neighborhood offices that provide services to residents, over at-large spots.

Quinones Sanchez and Parker are the only two district members who have resigned to run for mayor so far.

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