A front runner for Philadelphia City Council bails

A leading contender for a seat opening up on Philadelphia City Council has dropped out.

Veteran Democratic legislator Michael McGeehan  was regarded by many as the heir apparent to City Councilman Joan Krajewski, who’s finally retiring from her seat among the river wards of Northeast Philadelphia after eight terms in office.

Though he hadn’t formally announced, McGeehan was building support and raising money.

But McGeehan has suddenly decided he’ll stay in the Legislature. He said he’d recently spent time in City Hall, and wasn’t thrilled with the building or the working conditions.

“I have a wonderful job here in Harrisburg, and it’s certainly a wonderful environment to work in,” McGeehan said in a phone interview.

“I describe the difference between working in the state capitol and working in city hall as the difference between staying at the Ritz and staying at Motel 6,” he said. 

McGeehan said he also thinks state issues are more consequential than those City Council deals with.

His departure leaves another candidate, banker and former school reform commission member Martin Bednarek, in a strong position to contend for the Democratic nomination.

Bednarek said his banking experience will be valuable in dealing with the city’s financial problems.

“And I think my history at the school district in starting the reform effort and having the experience of dealing with billion dollar budgets gives me another piece on top of the business person piece,” Bednarek said.

The Democratic primary is May 17.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.