9 top stories from NinetyNine’s mayoral-primary coverage

 For the past five months, six candidates have vied for the right to set up offices on the second floor of City Hall. (NewsWorks, file art)

For the past five months, six candidates have vied for the right to set up offices on the second floor of City Hall. (NewsWorks, file art)

Over the course of the past several months, we have written a lot of stories about the campaign, the candidates and related happenings on the political trail.

At last count, the story log clocked in at about 250 posts, and we just know that you read them all. But what’s the harm in bringing a few of them back to your attention on Primary Election Eve?

Here are nine NinetyNine stories that stuck out in our memory banks:

1. Citing ‘family matters,’ Ken Trujillo withdraws from Philadelphia mayoral race (Jan. 21): The Democratic primary season hadn’t even kicked into first gear when declared candidate Ken Trujillo unexpectedly announced “it is with great regret that I announce today I will no longer pursue the office of Mayor of Philadelphia.” The most notable effect of that announcement? It cleared a path for then City Councilman Jim Kenney to quit his job and launch a mayoral campaign.

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2. Ask the mayoral candidates: How would you solve Philadelphia’s kindergarten conundrum? (Jan. 28): Education is the defining issue of the 2015 Democratic primary. And early on, we asked the candidates to provide their thoughts on a situation faced by many Philadelphia families: Namely, the convoluted process through which kindergarten enrollment can keep parents in the city or chase them away.

3. Kenney’s attack on Williams belies a nuanced position on charters (Feb. 12): Before results of the first independent poll were released last week, Jim Kenney and Anthony Hardy Williams were the perceived neck-and-neck front runners in the Democratic field. With this discussion of school funding, the candidates embarked on months of defining their stances in the public vs. charter battle and beyond.

4. Philly’s Dem. mayoral candidates appear at campaign’s first group forum (Feb. 19): The Business Association of West Parkside’s mayoral forum didn’t make this list for any sort of back-and-forth between candidates, but rather what it represented: The first in a looooooonnnnnng series of mayoral forums and debates that came to define this campaign.

5. Rendell: ‘I’m not likely to endorse’ anyone for mayor of Philadelphia (March 31): Former Mayor and Gov. Ed Rendell had gotten into a habit of saying really, really nice things about candidate Doug Oliver. Some thought a Rendell endorsement (and the attached swag bag) could have boosted Oliver from single-digit longshot into a position of challenging for the nomination. That could have changed the campaign’s dynamics but it never came to be.

6. Kenney locks down support of Northwest Philly political leaders (April 6) and Organizers say Williams counter-endorsement event in Northwest Philly not about racial politics (April 16): When Jim Kenney received the endorsement of a group of African American elected officials in Northwest Philly, WHYY’s Dave Davies labeled the development “historic.” What it also did was spark an uproar amid the old guard who didn’t take too kindly to people wondering whether Kenney could be “the future voice of black Philadelphia.”

7. Lynne Abraham collapses during Philly mayoral debate  (April 8): About 10 minutes into the first televised debate of the campaign, hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce at the Kimmel Center, candidate Lynne Abraham fainted. While she quickly bounced back, wanting to get back on stage and sticking to a hectic schedule the next day, the moment stuck with a lot of political observers as a defining moment of her campaign.

8. Nutter: Anyone who doesn’t retain Commish Ramsey ‘isn’t smart enough to run this city’ (May 6): In a campaign light on jaw-dropping moments, this one sent them to the ground across Philly. Summary: Anthony Hardy Williams told everybody he wouldn’t retain the police commissioner, if elected, on account of the heated “stop and frisk” issue. Well, the sitting mayor didn’t take too kindly to that, apparently. And he took the chance, at a memorial for fallen police officers and firefighters, to let that be widely known. 

9. Poll: Kenney with substantial lead over mayoral-primary foes (May 13): Just six days before the primary, results of the campaign’s first independent poll were released. What’d it say? That Jim Kenney had a markedly bigger lead on the field than previously suspected. While the Williams campaign brushed it off, and the Kenney folks said they’d keep working just as hard as before, we’ll see whether its results hold true on Tuesday night.


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