Petition Filings Show Many Lively Races in Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA’S state legislative districts. Courtesy Philadelphia City Commission

Fifty-six Democratic candidates filed petitions on Mar. 6 to run in the May primary for state senatorial and legislative seats.

As one consequence, the focus of most campaigns this week has been to inspect the petitions in many contested races. Many petitions will be challenged by opponents; if the past is prologue, some will be stricken, either for technical errors or for evidence of malfeasance in the circulation process. One candidate has already paid this price.

In Kensington’s 2nd Senatorial District, incumbent State Sen. Christine Tartaglione is being challenged by Marcus Isaac Paul. State Sens. Art Haywood (Northwest) and Anthony Williams (W. Phila.) face no challengers.

One Democrat, Michael Francis Doyle, Jr., filed to challenge incumbent Republican State Rep. Martina White in the 170th Legislative District in the fall.

State Reps. Kevin Boyle, Mike Driscoll and Ed Neilson (all D-Northeast) will be unopposed in the primary for the 172nd, 173rd and 174th District respectively.

In the 175th District, which sprawls from the River Wards through Center City into South Philadelphia, State Rep. Michael O’Brien is being challenged by Deborah Lee Derricks.

A firestorm of competition is sweeping through the Democrats of the 177th District, which reaches from the River Wards into Mayfair. They are Maggie Borski, Joe Hohenstein, Sean Kilkenny, Dan Martino and Sean McMonagle. They are vying to fill the seat occupied by retiring Republican State Rep. John Taylor. This is Hohenstein’s second effort.

McMonagle’s petitions were voided because he forgot to fill in the district name, so he’s out.

In the Kensington-Frankford 179th District, State Rep. Jason Dawkins is being challenged by Abu Vincente Edwards.

State Rep. Angel Cruz, however, is going uncontested in Kensington’s 180th District.

The 181st District in Lower North, where State Rep. Curtis Thomas, Jr. is retiring, saw six men file nominating petitions. They are Malcolm Kenyatta, Kenneth Walker, Jr., Gilberto Gonzalez, Lewis Thomas III, Lewis Nash, Sr. and Jason Alexander Deering.

In Center City and South Philadelphia, State Rep. Brian Sims will be challenged by Lou Lanni, Jr. This is Lanni’s second try.

In South Philadelphia’s 184th District, the retirement of State Rep. Bill Keller has tempted four candidates into the race. They are Tom Wyatt, Nick DiDonato, Jr., Elizabeth Fiedler and Jonathan Rowan.

State Rep. Maria Donatucci in South and Southwest Philadelphia’s 185th District is being challenged by Evette Thompson.

Home free, though, in South and Southwest Philadelphia’s 186th District is State Rep. Jordan Harris.

In West Philadelphia’s 188th District, incumbent State Rep. Jim Roebuck is being challenged by Jeff Curry and Diane Settles.

In West Philadelphia’s 190th District, incumbent State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown is facing two contenders whom she has bested before. They are Wanda Logan and Ray Bailey, Sr.

Two other West Philadelphia incumbent can take it easy in the primary. They are State Reps. Joanna McClinton in the 191st District and Morgan Cephas in the 192nd District.

In Northwest Philadelphia’s 194th District, State Rep. Pam DeLissio is being challenged by Jakita Robyn Price Johnson.

State Rep. Donna Bullock, whose 195th District covers Powelton Village, Fairmount and Strawberry Mansion, will face no primary opposition.

The famously fractious 197th District, which takes in parts of North Philadelphia and Kensington, is seeing another ruckus. State Rep. Emilio Vázquez is being hunted by Freddy Ramírez and Danilo Burgos. Ramírez was once nominated by the Democratic ward leaders of that district but was thrown off the ballot when a Republican attorney showed in court that Ramírez did not reside in that district at his claimed address.

State Rep. Rosita Youngblood in the 198th District, which takes in Nicetown, Tioga and Germantown, is being opposed by Bernard Williams.

The Northwest’s 200th District will see a struggle between State Rep. Chris Rabb and Melissa Scott.

North Philadelphia’s 201st and 203rd Districts pose no challenges for State Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Isabella Fitzgerald respectively.

State Rep. Jared Solomon in the Northeast’s 202nd District likewise has a lock on his seat.

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