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Left: Mayoral candidate Maria Quiñones Sánchez. Right: Latino Victory Executive Director Sindy Benavides. Photo: Maria Quiñones Sánchez campaign
Left: Mayoral candidate Maria Quiñones Sánchez. Right: Latino Victory Executive Director Sindy Benavides. Photo: Maria Quiñones Sánchez campaign

A nationwide Latino political group endorses Maria Quiñones Sánchez for Philly Mayor

Latino Victory, a group with hands in crucial races across the country, dropped their latest endorsement for a Philly candidate.

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On Thursday, March 30, Latino Victory announced their support for Maria Quiñones Sánchez for mayor of Philadelphia. 

The body isn’t based in Philly, nor do they work with city-based organizations, but much of their effort relies on sourcing homegrown, Latino-bred political talent aspiring for office in multiple races across the country.

Latino Victory’s support is the second outside endorsement to make its way into Philly’s mayoral race, following a Helen Gym endorsement from a Jane Fonda climate group. 

“When I think of Maria, she gets the work done,” Sindy Benavides, the Executive Director of Latino Victory, told AL DÍA News. 

“She’s focused on being in the community and not necessarily leading with ego. She comes from the community and is focused on community solutions.”

Quiñones Sánchez, 54, is but one candidate in a fierce field of 10 Democrats and one Republican vying for the hotly-contested executive office in the city as Philadelphians ready themselves to elect the 100th mayor. 

In a race stuffed with cash from powerful trades and little polling, candidates need help to stay visible on the campaign trail. Quiñones Sánchez shifted her campaign strategy to door-to-door and forum participation and some commercials — and is the only candidate to have produced Spanish-language programming. 

But amid the crowded field, Quiñones Sánchez has garnered fewer endorsements than her opponents and has much less cash on hand than the oft-discussed front runners, like fellow Democrat Helen Gym, who began the year with over a million dollars on hand. 

Candidates Allan Domb and Jeff Brown, similarly, injected millions in capital by the time campaigns kicked off in 2023. 

Still, visibility and popularity have yet to deter Quiñones Sánchez from taking on a political challenge. 

When she joined City Council as the elected representative for District 7, a predominantly Spanish-speaking community brimming with Puerto Rican and Dominican households, she secured her seat during a 14-year stint with no party support or popularity. 

“We were elated to endorse Maria,” Benavides said. “She brings the experience. The fact that she’s passed over 430 bills as an elected official? It’s about time that Philadelphia has a woman mayor as well as a Latina leading the city.” 

Indeed, Quiñones Sánchez’s legislative track record speaks to how she used her time in council, and her North Philly roots were latent in her policy work — including amending the city code to expand language access and creating mixed-income housing legislation to support affordability. 

“It was a no-brainer,” Benavides asserted. 

Lasting effect

What Quiñones Sánchez’s exit from city council meant for the Latino community was losing their only voice in the governing body. 

Despite making up almost 16% of the city’s population, City Hall only ever welcomed two Latino councilmembers as at-Large members — Ángel Ortíz and Juan Ramos — and one district-level seat, which belonged to the now-resigned Quiñones Sánchez. 

2019 had a record number of Latino candidates throw their names in the race for many seats, but Quiñones Sánchez came out as the only victorious candidate.

In the wake of her exit, though, Quiñones Sánchez’s ability to hold the revolving seat of Latino representation in government was on display when ward leaders unanimously endorsed Quetcy Lozada to succeed her in the November special elections. 

This year’s race will pit successor Quetcy Lozada against social worker Andrés Celín, whose base reflects an increasingly progressive sentiment in chunks of Norris Square. 

In the at-Large race, Luz Colón, a former Tom Wolf staffer, competes with Erika Almirón, who is aligned with the Working Families Party. 

Beating the machine?

It remains to be seen if voter turnout in the lower northeast will reflect the behavior over the last 14 years. 

Even with a successful electoral record, Quiñones Sánchez failed to acquire endorsements from neighboring congressional representatives whose congressional district overlapped hers. 

More Latina candidates

Latino Victory also endorsed Shamain Daniels, a Democrat who, unsuccessfully, ran against incumbent Scott Perry in the statewide race. 

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