The best choice to be Philly’s next mayor is. . .

I don’t recall a mayoral election in which I was undecided just days before Election Day.

Can this Rebecca Rhynhart (left) beat that Helen Gym (right)?

I usually vote for the person I like best, irrespective of their “electability” or political party.

Not this year.

This year we have a candidate even crazier and more dangerous than Milton Street, who never had a chance of being elected mayor.

This year we have Helen Gym, who has a good chance to win, and the word circulating among traditional and moderately progressive Democrats is ABG — Anyone But Gym. She has done the near impossible and unified the fractious Democratic Party, against her.

Most Philadelphia Democrats are “progressive,” but only a minority are radical progressive, the kind who are lining up behind the bantam and argumentative Gym, whose actions should eliminate her as a serious candidate.

But they haven’t, among her slavishly devoted followers, who are almost as much a personality cult as MAGA Trumpsters.They don’t care what she does as long as she scratches their Woke itch. They have a million ideas of things they want to do and not a single idea of how to pay for them. Except maybe raise taxes in America’s poorest big city, which is a guaranteed fail. And Philadelphia is poor, Gym has said more than once, is a matter of deliberate policy. Is she condemning her own party?

As with Trump, who won the 2016 nomination because his opponents splintered the anti-Trump vote, Gym could win because the ABG vote is split among Jeff Brown, Allan Domb, Cherelle Parker, and Rebecca Rhynhart.

I’ve already asked the seriously trailing (and politically damaged) Brown to drop out and throw his support to one of the anti-Gym front-runners, which seem like Parker and Rhynhart.

If I had a free choice, I would vote for Domb, but I don’t think he has the Election Day firepower to beat Gym. And keeping Gym out of the Mayor’s office is my chief priority.

She is uniquely unqualified by temperament to be mayor. And yet she could be.

All the following is based on my own gut, plus interviews with a dozen politicians and political analysts.

The path to a Gym victory is threefold.

First is turnout, which the pros say will be low, maybe less than 30%, despite the tightness of the race and that more than $30 million has been spent on it, a Philly record.

The Gym cult, or the Gym rats as I call them, are highly motivated acolytes. With them, Leftism is a religion. They will turn out to vote for her and many already have, by mail, according to the Committee of Seventy poll.

Black turnout has been falling in recent years. Not a lot, maybe, but enough. Parker needs to reverse that trend. She may be able to do that, as an “historic” Black woman candidate for mayor.

Second is GOTV — Get Out The Vote. The Gym Rats promise they will annoy knock on the doors of 300,000 voters. You know they are in the field because two Gym canvassers got into a deadly shootout.

Gym’s chief rival, Rhynhart, battles her for the white, Center City, college-educated progressive crowd. But her three mayoral endorsements won’t GOTV, nor will her Inquirer endorsement, ditto a handful of Wards which have endorsed her. She is qualified in my book, but she has no Election Day army that I can see.

The only major endorsement Domb has is former Mayor Bill Green. His GOTV effort — mostly in the Northeast and South Philly — will have to be bought. 

Jeff Brown has several unions who will help, but the Sanitation workers de-endorsed him after Brown complained about too much trash on city streets.  Several unforced errors, and lying that an Ethic Board issue with him has been settled, hurt him a lot.

That leaves former Councilwoman (and former State Rep) Cherelle Parker, who has the Building Trades and Electricians unions, both with deep pockets and many Election Day volunteers, plus endorsement from a half-dozen working politicians.

Finally, the numbers.

In the 2019 election, Gym had more than 200,000 votes, leading all other Council candidates.

That’s frightening, because 60,000 votes could win on Tuesday. But as a wise man told me, Gym won in 2019 with the backing of the powerful, mostly African-American Northwest Coalition, which she does not have this time.

This year, the Coalition was split — until former Councilman Derek Green dropped out and threw his support to Parker. It is rich in votes and hostile to Gym.

The majority of the pols I spoke to see the race being mostly between Rhynhart and Parker, with Gym falling back to third or fourth place. Since none of them endorsed Gym, I take that to be at least wishful thinking.

Most see turnout — especially Black turnout — as the key. 

Once upon a time there was a lot of cohesion in the Black community, but the endorsement of a white candidate, Rhynhart, by two Black former mayors shows Philly may be out of that box.

That’s good news.

Unless it leads to a Gym victory.

As I said at the top, I usually vote for the person I like best.

Not this time.

From all the tea leaves and chicken gizzards I can read, I believe Cherelle Parker has the best chance of beating Gym.

For that reason, I will vote for her to become Philly’s 100th mayor, even though she is not my first choice.

To stop the threat of civic Gymicide, my vote goes to Cherelle Parker. 

26 thoughts on “The best choice to be Philly’s next mayor is. . .”

  1. Good choice Stu, an army (Cherelle’s) needs to beat an army (Gym’s) Charge!

        1. Triple Ditto same old same old, nobody will come out to vote.

  2. Parker is the choice of the majority of democratic wards and is backed by the Building Trades Union and 10 white democratic ward leaders.. She also has strong backing from the Northwest Coalition led by Former Councilwoman Marion Tasco. She will be hard to beat. It also comes down to a black candidate running against an Asian candidate, the black candidate will be the winner for sure. It comes down to blacks voting black.

  3. Why am I not surprised at your keen analysis of the parties, the candidates, the issues, et cetera — and all regardless of party ideology? Your evenhandedness is what is sorely lacking in politics today. Although I am not a Philadelphian or a voter therein, I am keenly aware of the importance of the City to the outlying suburbs that nurse at the City’s breast. Fleeing the City is not the answer; fixing the City is. The voters MUST get off their collective asses and do something positive at long last. I have watched Philadelphia go downhill for the past 75 years, losing a half-million people in the process. Where are the dreamers, who long to make things right again? When I think of the people now who want to run the City I am reminded of the saying, “When you’ve lost your aim, redouble your effort.”

  4. You’re sounding more and more like me now Stu. I’ve been voting for the candidate I least dislike for years because, none of them has thrilled me. 2020 was the easiest choice of all. Many times in the last decade plus, it’s come down to voting not for who will do the best, but which candidate you think will do the least harm. Pretty sad state if you ask me.

  5. New Emerson PHL 17 poll has
    Gym 21
    Parker 18
    Rhinehart 18
    Domb 14
    Brown 10
    Unbelievably they asked who the 16% undecided were leaning to ,and when you include the ” leanings ” gym moved up to 23 %

    If brown doesn’t pull out then gym is going to win . What a friken ass he is

    1. Ian, while I did not call him an ass, (he is one), I said at the very beginning I did not like him at all. I believe he is, at this very moment, trying to make a deal that will benefit him, and the city be damned. In other words he is going to sell his soul to the highest bidder.

      I have no proof of this but that is my gut feeling.

  6. Gym wins, another poll came out by inside polling , has her at 23%. It’s over. If you can move from Philly, you should do it now.

  7. Stu

    You only want Parker because she is a hundred times better than Gym.

    Shame on you.

    How about Gor Gym teacher at Overbrook High.

  8. Reading your analysis after the fact, one day after the election, it shows you have some of the best insights into local politics. You were on point even on details such as Domb’s votes coming mainly from deep South Philly and the Northeast. And whoever you spoke with was right– Gym fell to 3rd and it was a fight between Parker and Rhynhart. I voted for Domb, and I’ll be voting for Oh in the Fall. Domb Charter sounds good, and Rhynhart as the city’s managing director is good too– Parker should do it. Domb should have stayed on in the council, preventing the further leftward lurch by several newcomers.

    1. Thanks for the compliment. I have been following local policies for a long time.
      I agree Council will be further left without Domb and Oh.

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