DemDaily: Tuesday’s Election Results! Pennsylania and Kentucky

May 17, 2023

In one of 2023's most closely watched mayoral elections yesterday, former City Councilor Cherelle Parker prevailed in the Philadelphia Mayoral Democratic primary, putting her on track to become the city's first female mayor and first woman of color to hold the office.

In the nine-candidate primary for the seat held by term-limited Democratic Mayor James Kenney, Parker secured 33%, followed by former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart (22.6%) and former City Councilor Helen Gym (21.3%). Former city councilor Allan Domb received 11.7%, business owner Jeff Brown 9.0%, and four other candidates came in below 1.5%.

Going into the election, Gym, the progressive favorite, was narrowly leading in the polls. Parker, however, was the establishment favorite, with the endorsement of several current and former city officials and state legislators, as well as major building trades unions.

Parker, who served in the state house for 10 years before her election to the city council in 2015, represented northwest Philadelphia, home to older middle-class Black voters, who boast some of the highest turnout of any voting demographic.

In the safely blue city, where Democrats outnumber Republicans seven to one and no Republican mayor has won in more than 70 years, Parker is the presumed winner of the November 7 general election. She will face former City Councilor David Oh, who was unopposed in the GOP primary.

Pennsylvania state House Democrats will retain their one-seat majority after Democrat Heather Boyd handily defeated Republican Katie Ford, 63% to 36%, in the special election to replace former State Representative Mike Zabel (D).

In November 2022, Democrats flipped a net 12 seats to claim majority status in the state House for the first time in 12 years. Democrats outspent the GOP nearly 10 to 1, investing roughly $1.3 million on Boyd's candidacy to preserve their majority.

In another top contest of 2023, incumbent Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and running mate Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman will face Republican nominee and current Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who swept the Republican primary with 47.7%.

Cameron, who has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, defeated Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles (21.7%), former Trump Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft (17.2%), and nine other candidates who received below 6%.

Although a reliably red state in presidential elections, which Trump won by a 25.9% margin in 2020, Kentuckians have a history of splitting their ticket when it comes to the Governor's mansion. Beshear, who boasts a 60% approval rating going into his reelection bid, is the most popular Democratic governor in the country.

Democrat Donna Deegan also made history Tuesday, becoming the first woman Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida.

The nonprofit founder, former local TV anchor and 2020 congressional nominee (FL-4) defeated Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce President and former State Representative Daniel Davis (R) 52% to 48% in the run-off to succeed term-limited Republican Mayor Lenny Curry.

Deegan and Davis had advanced as the top two competitors of seven in the March 1 blanket primary, where all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, appear on the same ballot.

Deegan's victory in the most expensive race in recent Jacksonville history means the Democrat has flipped the most populous city in the United States with a Republican mayor.

In the Colorado Springs mayoral run-off election, Independent Yemi Mobolade unseated Republican City Councilman and former Secretary of State Wayne Williams, 57.5% to 42.5%.

Mobolade, a naturalized citizen from Nigeria, is the co-founder of two local coffee shops and a newcomer to politics. He and Williams advanced to the run-off as the two top vote-getters among 12 candidates in the April 4 general election.

The victory came as a surprise in the traditional GOP stronghold which has not elected a Democratic mayor in 45 years. Mobolade, who will be the city's first elected black mayor, said he sees his new role as an opportunity to "restore public trust in local government."

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Philadelphia Inquirer, Vox, The Florida-Times Union, AP, CBS, CPR

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