Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania has endorsed a third-party candidate in Philadelphia’s municipal election despite warnings from the city’s Democratic Party to not do so, according to a statement on Wednesday.
Councilmember Kendra Brooks, of the Working Families Party, is running for reelection in 2023 to an at-large seat on the Philadelphia City Council. Brooks, who is also a member of the left-wing organization Democratic Socialists of America, is not a member of the Democratic Party but received Shapiro’s endorsement, according to a report by The Philadelphia Inquirer. (RELATED: KEVIN MOONEY: This Democrat Governor Could Defy The Teachers Unions And Pass School Choice)
“Compliance with this foundational rule is essential and non-negotiable. We truly do not want to see any of our committee people or ward leaders trigger this provision of our bylaws,” wrote former Democratic Rep. Bob Brady of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Philadelphia in a letter to local Democratic ward leaders and committee members. Brady on Wednesday suggested Shapiro’s endorsement may violate state party rules that say members must support Democrats, asking: “Does he know that someone who votes for her has to cut a Democrat?”
🇺🇸 This is real footage of Philadelphia
The United States is falling apart
— Rev Laskaris (@REVMAXXING) September 4, 2023
“We can’t have people cutting Democrats,” Brady said. “[Others] can win on their own instead of winning with Democratic votes.”
Shapiro, meanwhile, wrote that Brooks “has been a fierce advocate for Philadelphia’s working families and has demonstrated to me how critical her voice and lived experience are in City Council,” according to a post on Facebook. Brooks responded to the endorsement by writing “I’m grateful to have the endorsement of a leader who delivers for working families. Together, we will protect our reproductive rights, address gun violence, and stand up to extremists.”
Shapiro has often demonstrated a willingness to buck Democratic interests. Upon taking office in January, he named a Republican to serve as his secretary of state and attempted to pass a school choice program in the state, though this was later abandoned.
“[He] can support who he chooses,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Sharif Street, according to the Inquirer.
Brooks’ candidacy does not necessarily come at the expense of Democratic candidates for at-large seats on the council. There are seven such seats on the council and voters may select up to five candidates for them — enabling another party to win the two seats not won by Democrats, who have a 7 to 1 advantage in registered voters in Philadelphia, according to the Enquirer.
Brooks was first elected to the city council in 2019, wresting control of the latter two at-large seats from Republicans, who had held them for over 70 years, the Enquirer reported. During her first campaign, she was endorsed by several top Democrats such as Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, according to Jacobin magazine and The Intercept.
“It’s really important to keep Republicans out of those seats,” said Gwen Snyder, a former Democratic official, the Enquirer reported. The current iteration of Philadelphia’s city council has been in Democratic control for its entire existence, since 1951.
Brady and Shapiro did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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