Philadelphia

Philadelphia City Council races result in landmark victories for LGBTQ, South Asian candidates

In addition to the historic victories of Rue Landau and Nina Ahmad, Republicans are struggling to hold on to a minority seat as two Working Families Party candidates declared victory Tuesday night,

Philadelphia City Councilmembers-elect Nina Ahmad and Rue Landau

Philadelphia City Councilmembers-elect Nina Ahmad and Rue Landau Ryan Powell; Andrea Cipriani Mecchi

Philadelphia voters made history on several fronts Tuesday night, electing the city’s first female mayor and shaking up City Council with ceiling-breaking and progressive candidates bound to reshape the city’s legislative body. 

Five Democrats and two Working Families Party candidates are declaring victory in the City Council at-large races, which would oust Republicans from the non-majority seats and leave longtime incumbent Brian O’Neill – who handily defeated a well-funded challenger in labor leader Gary Masino – as the lone Republican on City Council. 

Democratic candidates Rue Landau and Nina Ahmad earned at-large wins alongside incumbents Isaiah Thomas, Katherine Gilmore Richardson and Jim Harrity. Landau will become City Council’s first openly LGBTQ member and Ahmad will become its first South Asian member – and the first immigrant member of the chamber in recent memory.

Taking the stage Tuesday night at her watch party at Cockatoo, a bar in the area known as the Gayborhood, Landau said it was a “moment of immense pride and joy.” 

“This victory belongs to every person in this room – every LGBTQ+ person and ally across the city, every trailblazer who came before us and every single one of us who’s been waiting for a voice in City Hall,” Landau said. “It’s a testament to the decades-long struggle for LGBTQ visibility and representation (in elected office) here in Philadelphia.”

At her victory party at the Marriott Old City, located in Philadelphia’s oldest business district, Ahmad, one of the newest councilmembers, reflected on the culmination of her long political journey, which included a stint as a deputy mayor and failed campaigns for lieutenant governor and auditor general.

“You know, what this win means to me is that when you speak a little different, look a little different, if you connect with people and persevere, you can make a difference and you can arrive in places that were not meant for you,” Ahmad said in a post-victory interview with City & State. “I have something to offer – and people have finally decided, ‘Yes, let’s give her a shot at it.’ ”

Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro said Philadelphia should “take great pride” in Tuesday’s historic election. 

“These firsts are important not just for the individuals who occupy those positions but for what it says to others in the city that they can be that. When a little Black girl sees Cherelle Parker, she now thinks she can be mayor, and when a young gay child sees Rue Landau, (they can) say, ‘You know what, I belong there,’” Shapiro told City & State. “That’s empowering to people and I’m excited for what that means for the city.”

The two council seats saved for non-majority party members remained a pitched battle between Republicans and Working Families Party candidates at press time. Incumbent WFP candidate Kendra Brooks burst onto the political scene in 2019 with an upset win that took a non-majority seat away from Republicans. 

This time around, Brooks’ running mate Nicolas O’Rourke was seeking the second non-majority seat, most recently vacated by Republican Councilmember-turned-mayoral candidate David Oh. Brooks, an incumbent with the support of Shapiro and U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, maintained her seat as expected. Despite the final at-large race remaining too close to call Tuesday night, O’Rourke declared victory as well. 

With about 95% of the divisions reporting, O’Rourke held 5.82% of the vote, just a few thousand votes ahead of Republicans Jim Hasher and Drew Murray. 

“We just left the Republican Party to the dustbin of history by running on a positive vision for Philadelphia,” O'Rourke said in a statement. “Philly can be a city where everybody can get a good job, send their kids to a good school, and feel safe in their neighborhoods. Kendra and I are ready to fight for a city where everyone can thrive, not just the powerful or the privileged.” 

Hasher, however, declined to concede Tuesday, telling the Philadelphia Inquirer he is waiting until all mail-in ballots are counted. 

“We’re going to have to hope for the best and see where it goes, but as of right now, I congratulate Kendra and I congratulate Nic. They ran a hard race,” Hasher said. “I don’t think we’re going to formally concede tonight because we need to look at what the mail-in ballot situation is, see how many are still out.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.