Cherelle Parker, a Democrat with a long political history in Pennsylvania, won Philadelphia’s mayoral primary on Tuesday, making her likely the city’s 100th female mayor and the first woman to hold the office.
Parker, 50, who served as state representative for Northwest Philadelphia for ten years prior to her election to the city council in 2015, asserted herself as a leader whose government experience would enable her to address gaping public safety and quality of life issues in the state the sixth largest city in the country.
She will face Republican David Oh in the November 7 general election.
The win was a disappointment for the progressives, who rallied around Helen Gym, who was supported by US Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont and US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York.
Parker emerged from a crowded field of five front-runner candidates vying to replace term-limited Democrat Jim Kenney.
She prevailed over other former city council members who resigned their seats to throw their hats in the ring. a state representative; a former city controller and a political maverick businessman.
The Philadelphia race serves as the latest barometer of how residents of some of the nation’s largest cities hope to emerge from the pandemic, which has heightened concerns about crime, poverty and inequality.
The results were sometimes turbulent in other parts of the country, leading to the defeat of Chicago’s incumbent mayor in February and the removal of the San Francisco district attorney last year.
Parker vowed to “stop the sense of lawlessness plaguing our city” by sending hundreds more officers out into the streets to enlist in community policing.
Parker urged officers to use all legal remedies, including arresting an individual where there is “reasonable cause and reasonable suspicion.”
She received support from members of the Philadelphia delegation to the House of Representatives, as well as from members of Congress.
She also had support from unions and a number of counties in the city, and Kenney said he cast his vote for her.
In another race Tuesday, voters in Allegheny County, which includes the state’s second-largest city, Pittsburgh, chose incumbent state representative Sara Innamorato as their Democratic nominee to face off against sole Republican nominee Joseph Rockey in November’s general election .
Unlike the Philadelphia mayoral race, the grand prize winner will not necessarily be the person most likely to fill the borough executive seat.
“Allegheny County, I will make you a promise: I will build a leadership team that will usher in the future of this region and build a fairer and fairer county,” she said Tuesday at a campaign event for fans to enjoy the victory and gain renewed strength. “We should prepare better because we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Our Revolution, a movement that emerged during US Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential election and is now one of the country’s largest progressive organizations, had backed Innamorato — a victory for the movement, despite its defeat in the mayoral primaries.