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29 Apr 2016

Surprises… and Stunners

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April 29, 2016 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  Hillary Clinton

For some of the people on the ballot, Tuesday’s Pennsylvania Primary was just another day at the office.

But for others, it led to their office being taken away.

By Denise Clay

Some of the results of Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary were of no surprise to anyone.

But some of them are going to reverberate in the city for a long time to come.

On the no surprise side were the victories of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Pennsylvania’s Presidential Primaries.

For example, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary over her rival Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. She also won the Pennsylvania primary in 2008.

As the crowd at the Pennsylvania Convention Center chanted her name, Clinton thanked her supporters and said that her next visit to Philadelphia would be equally as triumphant.

“With your help, we’re going to come back to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention with the most votes and the most pledged delegates,” she said.

Clinton owes a lot of her win to the City of Philadelphia. According to numbers from the Philadelphia City Commissioners office, Clinton won 63 percent of the city’s vote and 59 of the city’s 66 wards.

She also did exceptionally well with Philadelphia’s Black community. According to the Commissioners, the 10 wards with the highest percentage of Black voters gave Clinton 94 percent of their votes. Sanders did better in more liberal wards in places like University City, Fishtown, Port Richmond, Manayunk, Roxborough, and part of South Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, Trump took 57 percent of the Republican vote in Philadelphia, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich taking second place. Only 44,000 Republicans voted in the primary city-wide.

Katie McGinty

Katie McGinty

In the battle to see who gets to take on Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in November, Katie McGinty bested former Congressman Joe Sestak, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, and businessman John Vodvarka to be the Democratic Party’s standard bearer.

Helped by endorsements from President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and her former boss, Gov. Tom Wolf, as well as a lot of campaign financing, McGinty won with more than 43 percent of the vote. She’ll need the financing and ground troops to defeat Toomey in a state that has never sent a woman to the United States Senate.

Dwight Evans

Dwight Evans

However, the night wasn’t so good for a lot of local incumbents, most notably Congressman Chaka Fattah. State Rep. Dwight Evans, one of three challengers Fattah faced in the Democratic primary, beat the incumbent by more than 13,000 votes. He’ll face Republican James Jones for the right to represent the Second Congressional District in November.

At around 10p.m. Tuesday night, Fattah put on a brave face as he arrived at the 1199C healthcare workers union hall in Center City. Joined by his wife former NBC-10 anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah, his two daughters, State Sen. Vincent Hughes and City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, he gave a concession speech that recognized showcased his accomplishments in the district while recognizing how tough the odds against him were to beat.

“There were forces arrayed against us tonight of very powerful and influential people,” Fattah said. “This is the best congressional district in the country and it’s been an honor to represent it,” Fattah said. “This is not a moment to talk about the past, but to move forward. I may not have had the numbers tonight, but I still consider myself to be in the winner’s circle.”

Evans, who has spent 36 years in the State House including a term as chair of the House Appropriations Committee, was also competing against Dan Muroff, an attorney from East Mount Airy and Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon for the nomination.

While Fattah bemoaned the fact that Evans got money and backing from such powerbrokers as Mayor Jim Kenney, and Gov. Tom Wolf, what may have ultimately led to his defeat was the federal criminal trial Fattah faces later this month. The congressman was indicted in July on charges of bank fraud, bribery, money laundering, and racketeering in connection to an illegal $1 million loan he took out for his 2007 run for mayor. He’s also been accused of taking bribes from a lobbyist.

But Fattah wasn’t the only one that found themselves on the losing end Tuesday night’s primaries. Longtime State Rep. Mark Cohen, and State Reps. Lynwood Savage and Tonyelle Cook Artis, both of whom had just been elected to their offices in the March 15 special elections, all fell to defeat on Tuesday.

Cohen, who has represented the 202nd District since winning his seat in a special election in 1974, lost to community organizer Jared Solomon by a little over 1,200 votes. It was Solomon’s second attempt to unseat Cohen, the son of the late City Councilman David Cohen and the state’s longest serving legislator.

In the 192nd District, Savage was defeated for the Democratic nomination by newcomer Morgan Cephas, who has worked in constituent services for City Councilman Curtis Jones and in education and workforce development for the Philadelphia Youth Network.

Chris Rabb (Photo: Richard Carey)

Chris Rabb (Photo: Richard Carey)

Chris Rabb bested Cook Artis to win the 200th District seat. Rabb is a professor in the Institute for Strategic Leadership at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and a Social Impact Fellow in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. Cook Artis was the chief of staff for former State Rep. Cherelle Parker before Parker left to become City Councilwoman for the 9th District.

Vanessa Lowery Brown

Vanessa Lowery Brown

But another embattled State Rep. managed to win her primary contest. State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown held off challenges from Wanda Logan, Raymond Bailey, Movita Johnson-Harrell, Theodore Smith and Darryl Thomas to win the Democratic primary for the 190th District. Lowery Brown, who has represented the district since 2009, goes to court on Sept. 21 on corruptions charges.

There were also two ballot questions voters were asked to consider. One would make the Mayor’s Commission on African American Males a permanent body and the other would abolish Philadelphia’s traffic court. Both were successful.

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