Philly Mayoral Race: Jim Kenney wins Democratic primary in sweeping victory

Philly Mayoral Race: Jim Kenney wins Democratic primary in sweeping victory
Charles Mostoller

Former city councilman Jim Kenney won the Democratic nomination for Mayor of Philadelphia, beating five other opponents with roughly 59 percent of the vote at 9:23 p.m., with 52 percent of precincts reporting.

Kenney’s win all but assures he will become mayor after the general election in November, because Democrats hold a 8 to 1 voter registration advantage in the city.

Kenney was the heavy favorite going into Election Day. But that wasn’t always the case.

Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham put out a poll that claimed she was winning. But her candidacy faltered after she fainted during a live televised debate and questions arose over whether, at 74, she was simply too old.

State Sen. Tony Williams too was considered a viable contender, but his lackluster campaign failed to highlight the key issue Williams was identified with, charter schools and school choice. He took 21 percent of the vote.

During the campaign, Kenney had patiently amassed a pile of endorsements from labor leaders and cut into Williams’ presumed advantage among African American voters. He also took advantage of voters’ distrust of Williams’ financial backers, partners in the securities trading firm Susquehanna International Group, who are strong proponents of educational reform.

Kenney will face GOP candidate and businesswoman Melissa Murray Bailey, 36, in the general election.