State Sen. Vincent Hughes says he’s not running for mayor

Vincent Hughes mayor
State Sen. Vincent Hughes speaks Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023.
Jack Tomczuk

Vincent Hughes, a powerful state senator, on Wednesday dispelled rumors that he would enter the city’s crowded Democratic mayoral primary.

In a video posted to social media, Hughes stated his intention to remain in Harrisburg, saying he and fellow lawmakers can change the course of the city by investing state funds in preventing gun violence and improving public schools.

“We have incredible opportunities in Harrisburg,” Hughes said. “Brand new governor, a legislature that in two years is going to flip, and $12 billion in unspent money just sitting around not doing anything.”

Hughes said people from across the city have asked him to consider running for mayor, which he called “a pretty humbling experience.”

The slickly-edited clip, which resembles a campaign video at first glance, was interspersed with footage of Hughes at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, City Hall and Overbrook’s Samuel Gompers School.

Hughes, who is the Democratic chair of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, has represented the 7th District since 1994, when he succeeded Chaka Fattah. The district covers a large chunk of West and Northwest Philadelphia, as well as a section of Montgomery County.

Previously, he served as a state representative, and he is married to Sheryl Lee Ralph, the “Abbott Elementary” star who is also performing at next month’s Super Bowl.

Hughes declined to join a Democratic candidate pool that already includes state Rep. Amen Brown, grocer Jeff Brown, former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, pastor Warren Bloom, former judge James DeLeon and recently resigned City Council members Helen Gym, Allan Domb, Derek Green, Cherelle Parker and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez.