Cherelle Parker, a Democrat with a long political history in Pennsylvania, won Philadelphia's mayoral primary on Tuesday, likely setting her up as the city's 100th mayor and the first woman to serve in the role.
Parker, 50, who served for 10 years as a state representative for northwest Philadelphia before her election to the City Council in 2015, asserted herself as a leader whose government experience would allow her to address gaping problems with public safety and quality of life in the nation's sixth-largest city. She will go up against Republican David Oh in the Nov. 7 general election.
The win was a disappointment to progressives who rallied around Helen Gym, who was backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
Parker emerged from a crowded field of five front-runner Democratic candidates vying to replace Democrat Jim Kenney, who is term-limited. She beat out other former City Council members who resigned from their seats to run, a state representative, former city controller and political outsider businessman.
Parker pledged to "stop the sense of lawlessness that is plaguing our city" by putting hundreds more officers on the street to engage in community policing. Parker pushed for officers to use every legal tool, including stopping someone when they have "just cause and reasonable suspicion."
She received support from members of the Philadelphia delegation in the House, as well as members of Congress, labor unions and a number of city wards.
DEMOCRATS HOLD NARROW LEAD
Meanwhile, Democrats maintained their narrow Pennsylvania House majority Tuesday by winning a special election and along with it continued control over how the chamber will handle abortion, gun rights and election law legislation.
Heather Boyd won a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives representing the Philadelphia suburbs, beating Republican Katie Ford for a vacancy created by the resignation of Democratic Rep. Mike Zabel. Zabel quit the Legislature in March, shortly after a lobbyist accused him of sexually harassing her.
Boyd's win gives Democrats 102 seats, the minimum needed to control the agenda in the 203-member House. The state Senate has a Republican majority.
The Democrats' victory in the Delaware County district means first-term Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro will have at least one chamber to aid his agenda going into the final month of budget negotiations.
Boyd is a former congressional and state legislative aide. Her district was once Republican but has given solid margins to Democratic candidates in recent elections.
Republicans entered the 2022 election with a 113-90 advantage in the state House, but Democrats flipped a net of 12 seats, barely enough to claim majority status after 12 years and elect one of their own as speaker.
Republican Michael Stender won a special election for a vacant central Pennsylvania seat. Stender, a Shikellamy school board member, firefighter and former EMT, was endorsed by former Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver -- the Republican who represented the district before winning a state Senate special election earlier this year. Stender beat Democrat Trevor Finn, a Montour County commissioner. The district also includes part of Northumberland County
Information for this article was contributed by Brooke Schultz, Tassanee Vejpongsa, Mark Scolforo, Nicholas Riccardi and Marc Levy of The Associated Press.