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Mayoral candidate Cherelle Parker. Photo: Alan Nunez / AL DÍA News
Mayoral candidate Cherelle Parker. Photo: Alan Nunez / AL DÍA News

Northeast ward leaders show unified front, endorse Cherelle Parker for Philly mayor

The support follows an earlier endorsement from some Philly Latino State Representatives.

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Northeast ward leaders announced on Monday, April 3, that they would back Cherelle Parker for mayor of Philadelphia, locking in large swaths of the region in favor of her campaign. 

Parker, whose name recognition lagged behind candidates with large campaign coffers and overall popularity, is visibly gaining momentum as groups coalesce behind her with six weeks to go before the May 16 primary. 

The wards endorsing Parker for mayor are 23, 41, 53, 57, 58, 63, 64, 65, 66 a/b.

Touching on the city’s most pressing issues, like policing and leadership accountability, ward leaders at the podium sang Parker’s praises, lauding her for an “objective” and “fair” approach, “and she’s going to get the job done,” said District 6 City Councilmember Mike Driscoll. 

Driscoll replaced convicted councilmember Bobby Henon, charged with corruption, in a special election around this time last year. 

He is, in addition to his involvement with the ward leaders, a former State Representative for the 173rd district and oversaw parts of the very region where he delivered the endorsement, though his stint in state government didn’t coincide with Parker’s. 

Shawn Dillon, who said he was ”wearing multiple hats” on the day of the endorsement, said Parker was “qualified to deliver for each neighborhood” in Philly.

Dillon is the sitting leader for Ward 66a and a former state senate candidate who dropped out of the race in 2022 after Republicans challenged his nomination in court.

Parker remains stubborn on policing

Following the ward leader’s endorsement, Parker delivered remarks that hit strongly on community policing and identity politics. 

“There will be zero tolerance for any misuse and or abuse of authority,” Parker said, emphasizing her support for community policing and officers “walking the beat.” 

“In some Philadelphia, people have made up in their mind that those two things can’t exist together. I reject that narrative,” she added. 

Parker's sentiments on policing don’t stray too far from her legislative record. In council, she passed legislation that deployed 300 additional officers two years after the city protested police brutality in the wake of the George Floyd murder in 2020. 

“When others were calling for our great city to defund the police, I was proud to introduce a comprehensive neighborhood safety and community policing plan… walking the beat, riding their bikes, and getting to build relationships and build trust with communities they were sworn to protect and serve,” Parker said. 

“I think we deserve to have that.” 

Building momentum

Parker’s campaign, at the outset, did not receive high-visibility endorsements, nor did she raise formidable campaign funds when compared to other candidates, who raised millions of dollars by 2023. 

But momentum for her campaign is nonetheless felt. Aside from sweeping support from the wards, Parker, who comes from under the tutelage of the late Augusta Clark and Marian Tasco, has also received the support of the building trades and other political leaders. 

Parker, thus far, has flexed her political muscle in the Northwest coalition, which has demonstrated its mastery to usher in leaders in past elections — including mayoral contender Derek Green, city councilmembers Katherine Gilmore-Richardson, Isaiah Thomas, and Parker.

State Senators — including Christine Tartaglione, Sharif Street, Vincent Hughes, and Jimmy Dillon — all coalesced behind Parker. 

These endorsements follow earlier backing from freshly-elected State Rep. José Giral, who replaced Ángel Cruz in the 180th district, which is predominantly Latino and may serve as the precursor as to whether Giral’s name can drive Latino turnout at the polls. 

Other State Representatives backing Parker include Donna Bullock, Darisha Parker, and Stephen Kinsey.

Congressman Dwight Evans joined the roster yesterday as well.

The Philadelphia Building Trades Council, a powerful network of 50 unions that helped elect current mayor Jim Kenney, has also backed Parker in the race. 

Birdseye view

Ward endorsements are touted aggressively in local races. And while it’s hard to tell whether these calls sway voters, wards do much of the legwork, phone banking, canvassing, and flyer distribution to spread awareness of a candidate they support. 

In contrast, Helen Gym, who aligned herself with more progressive organizations, recently received the endorsement of State Senator Nikil Saval, teacher’s and nurses’ unions, as well as the full-throated support of the city’s younger progressive voters. 

In a city that grapples with consistently low voter turnout, it’s critical for candidates to absorb as many ground troops to usher contenders on the May primary election. 

Open wards, where committee people can vote to endorse a candidate, have rallied behind Rebecca Rhynhart, Helen Gym, and Jeff Brown. 

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