Candidates are out and about as voters trickle into the polls [updated]

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Updated at 2:45 p.m. 

Mayoral candidates Jim Kenney and Melissa Murray Bailey met outside Simons Recreation Center in West Oak Lane and buddied up to take a picture. 

Click here for the 2015 Philadelphia Voters Guide

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(Brian Hickey/WHYY)

In the heart of one of the city’s power-voting districts, Republican mayoral candidate Melissa Murray Bailey and 9th District council candidate Kevin Strickland introduced themselves to voters at Simons Recreation Center.

It was the 10th location on a 16-stop citywide tour for the woman who will face off against the winner of today’s Democratic-primary winner in November’s general election.

Having flown under the radar in recent months, except for those forums to which she was invited, Murray Bailey noted that she was recognized by Republicans at earlier stops but also asked if she was there to vote.

“We’re just talking to ask many people as we can because half of them will be disappointed that the person they supported lost,” she said. “We want to make sure they know that I’m here, that there’s an option besides the candidate who they’ve been hating on for the past several months. 

Melissa Murray Bailey greets voters in West Oak Lane. #nextmayorphl

— Brian P. Hickey (@BrianPHickey) May 19, 2015

Several of Murray Bailey’s campaign signs — complete with a QR code that links directly to her website — were on the walls outside Simons Rec.

There were also a slew of Kenney signs on those walls and, by 1:20 p.m., voters at Simons were treated to a preview of the possible November field.

Having just finished up an appearance at Relish, Kenney stopped by Simons to meet a few voters before continuing on the campaign trail.

Kenney and Murray Bailey hugged and assured one another that a potential general-election campaign would be friendly and without the friction that marked the primary of late.

For his part, Anthony Hardy Williams is scheduled to stop by Simons Rec at 3:30 p.m.

Updated at 2:15 p.m.

In what has become Northwest Philadelphia’s version of the Famous 4th Street Delicatessen’s election-day gathering, many supporters of Jim Kenney’s mayoral campaign made their way to Relish restaurant in the heart of state Rep. Dwight Evans’ district for lunch on Tuesday.

Evans and outgoing City Councilwoman Marian Tasco, as you may remember, fronted a group of African American elected officials from Northwest Philly who made campaign waves by backing Kenney.

And on Tuesday, they all took the stage to reiterate their support and urge backers to get back out there on the streets to drive votes all the way through the 8 p.m. last call.

After dining with state Supreme Court candidate Kevin Dougherty, Kenney took to the Relish stage with Evans, Tasco, City Council President Darrell Clarke, City Councilwoman Cindy Bass, council aspirant/state Rep. Cherelle Parker, state Rep. Brian Simms and state Sens. Art Haywood and Vincent Hughes.

.@JimFKenney speaking at Relish (video). #NextMayorPHL

— NinetyNine (@MayorNinetyNine) May 19, 2015

Clarke said he was looking forward to a “long, courteous, substantive working relationship” with “Mayor Jim Kenney,” while Hughes used a football scoring-touchdowns metaphor to explain how he thought the former councilman and Clarke would “move the city forward in unison.”

At the midway point of a jam packed Election Day schedule, Kenney graciously thanked them all for their support.

“You can tell the character of a person by the friends that they keep. Look at this stage; I couldn’t ask for better friends and people supporting me,” Kenney said. “I am very proud and humbled every day I go through this election process.

“I become more and more humble about the responsibility of being mayor and the responsibility of not letting people down, and these folks won’t let me let anybody down. As I’m going polling place to polling place, I’m running into fresh-faced young people who really want to see a brighter future and we have a responsibility to help provide for that. Lord willing, if I’m successful tonight, I will be even more honored to have you standing on the stage with me.”

Updated at 1:45 p.m.

At Solis Cohen Elementary school in Northeast Philadelphia Pearl Ruffin said she voted for Anthony Williams. 

“He just seems like he’s on the up and up. He seems like he’s for real and he’s going to help out with schools,” said Ruffin, adding that it seems like Williams will also end stop-and-frisk.

Pat Sullivan said she voted for Lynne Abraham because she thinks Abraham “did a heck of a job” as District Attorney and because “it would be nice to have a woman for a change.”

Annette Jeffrey lives in the Italian Market area and looked for a mayoral candidate she thought would do the most to help the poor. She went with Kenney.

“I voted for Kenney. Everything that I’ve read and heard about him and his service over time shows a record that upholds my values around poverty and homelessness,” she said.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. 

NinetyNine editor, Brian Hickey, spotted some funny sign business off Germantown Avenue. 

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(Brian Hickey/WHYY)

In other news, Pat Gillespie, who heads up the Building Trades Council said his people are seeing men who aren’t his members wearing “Building Trades for Anthony Williams” Shirts. Gillespie said he believes they are members of the carpenters union.

“The carpenters had been members of the building trades last year but they decided not to become members anymore they stopped paying dues.

The Building Trades Council has endorsed Jim Kenney.

A spokesperson for the carpenters did not return phone calls and emails seeking comment.

And political consultant Neal Oxman sent this picture of a campaign enthusiast our way from the Taney Street playground polling place

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(Courtesy of Neal Oxman)

Updated at 12 p.m.

At Munoz – Marin elementary school few people are talking the mayoral race, even as many wear Kenney t-shirts. In the 7th councilmatic district, it’s all about challenger Manny Morales vs. incumbent Maria Quinones-Sanchez.

Poll watchers from Quinones-Sanchez’s camp called the place “voter fraud central” and said they have seen incidents of ballots not lighting up and votes not being generated. One machine appears out of commission.

Sean McGrath is a poll watcher for Sanchez and law student involved with Committee of Seventy.

“It seems like there have been a couple issues with machines not lighting up properly or not catching the vote,” he said. He said they have notified machine technicians.

As of 11:15 a.m. 33, 28, and nine voters have cast ballots for divisions 2, 3 and 4 respectively.

Juan Kane lives in Feltonville and votes at Esperanza Charter School. He works for the Philadelphia Water Department and has grandchildren in public schools. He;d like to see them go to charter schools.

He voted for Jim Kenney, Maria Quinones-Sanchez, W. Wilson Goode. Jr. Blondell Reynolds Brown and Kevin Dougherty.

“[Kenney] seemed more sincere towards the people. It’s not a black and white thing, because I’m black. So I don’t go by the racial boundaries,” he said. “It’s something to do with what I’ve been through, what I’ve experienced because I’m a city employee.”

Kane’s wife, Yasmeen Gamble, also voted for Kenny and Quinones-Sanchez.

“I don’t know much about [Kenney], but what I seen on TV — him coming out to the people, reaching out, he’s going to make a change with the police, no stop-and-frisk”

On other races she said, “I don’t know too much about that, city council, the judges, I just pick Kevin Dougherty, or whatever, I don’t know. I just pick this one, that one. I guess I just go by the commercials, and I’m like ‘oh I guess he sounds sincere, I guess I’ll vote for him “

Santiago Salo, a Cuban-American who votes at Cayuga Elementary said in broken english that he voted for Williams and Quinones-Sanchez. 

“They sent me something by mail, explaining the guy,” he said of Williams. 

Updated at 10:15 a.m. 

The following unsourced anti-Kenney literature was sent to NinetyNine from Germantown, where it’s being circulated. Click here to read more about the endorsement of Jim Kenney by Northwest Philadelphia elected officials and here to read about the counter-endorsement that followed.


Checking in to see how voting is going in the 7th District’s 18th ward, Laura Benshoff reports turnout has been low so far in division 14 and 15. Eighteen people voted in division 14 and eight in division 15 as of 9:15 a.m. 

“This is actually a good outcome for us this early,” said one polling attendant who did not want to be identified.

“A lot of people in this neighborhood have night jobs,” said Sarita Broadnax, outside the mosque wearing a Manny Morales shirt. She said she thinks the biggest rush will be from 5 to 8 p.m.

Updated at 9:30 a.m.

A few ballot machine glitches have been reported. 

WHYY alum Emma Jacobs reports a malfunctioning voting booth at the polling place at Academy at Palumbo on Catharine St.
A voter complained of the ballot machine not lighting up to register their votes at a machine on 47th and Chester streets in West Philly, according to reporter Laura Benshoff. She said the issue resolved.
At the polling location at 167 Allegheny in the 7th District, reporter Bobby Allyn says there was a mismatch between voter signatures and the number of votes the machine has logged. 

NewsWorks’ NinetyNine editor, Brian Hickey, checked in from his East Falls polling location. He said at 8 a.m. he was the 28th person to vote in the division. He votes at Mifflin Elementary School, where he said supporters of City Council at-large candidate Helen Gym and mayoral candidate Jim Kenney were on the corner ringing cowbells. 

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East Falls zoning committee member Matt McClure and 38th ward committeeperson Dave Senoff, in front of Mifflin Elementary School. “The worst ever turnout,” they said. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

At the First United Methodist Church of Germantown about a dozen people were handing out election materials. Turnout was light as of 8:15 a.m., according to WHYY senior political reporter Dave Davies. 

The official recommended ballot from 59th ward leader Donna Reed Miller, a former City Councilwoman, supports Anthony Hardy Williams for mayor. But a similar-looking ballot from the “Citizens of the 59th ward” endorsed Jim Kenney.

City Council at-large candidates Helen Gym and Paul Steinke had workers distributing their literature.


Anna Maria Jackson  (left) and Michelle Carter-Bailey handing out election materials in Germantown’s 59th ward at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown on Germantown Avenue. (Dave Davies/WHYY)

Updated at 8:45 a.m. 

WHYY Vice President of News and Civic Dialouge, Chris Satullo, said he was the 40th voter to come into his polling location in Spring Garden at 8:30 a.m.

“That’s not bad for us at this time of morning, about normal. We have our usual regulars who come out,” said a poll worker. “One of the first ones, like he always is, was Michael Sklaroff. I guess he’s a pretty busy man.”

Sklaroff, a prominent Philadelphia real estate lawyer, is one of mayoral candidate Lynne Abraham’s biggest backers. 

Satullo added that his polling location, St. Francis Xavier Catholic School, had very few campaign workers outside. The only mayoral candidate with someone handing out cards was Abraham.

WHYY Audio News Director, Eugene Sonn, checked in from his polling location in Langhorne where turnout was “very light.” Voters were coming in to vote in a hotly-contested school boards race there, and were less motivated other races such as judgeships. 

Penny Tomlinson from Langhorne voted in the Republican primary and came to vote in a new Neshaminy School Board member. When it came time to vote for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and other judges, she said she was caught off guard. 

“Oh I was like oh my goodness. It was hard, it was real hard because I’m not real familiar with all of them. I did my job.” 

It’s primary day in Pennsylvania, and voters are heading to the polls. Check back here throughout the day for NewsWorks’ updated coverage.

Tune to WHYY 90.9 for coverage throughout the day. Live, on-air coverage of results will begin at 9 p.m.

What’s at stake

Voters who are registered Democrats will be choosing the Democratic mayoral candidate. That person will go on to face Republican Melissa Murray Bailey — and possibly an independent candidate — in the general election Nov. 3. 

(If you’re wondering what Murray Bailey is up to today, here’s a link to her election day schedule.)

Vying for the chance are former Philadelphia Councilman Jim Kenney, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, former state Sen. Milton Street, former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, former Philadelphia Gas Works executive Doug Oliver and former Common Pleas Court Judge Nelson Diaz.

For a look back at the mayoral campaign up to this point, check out NinetyNine’s top nine moments of the campaign and the top nine stories from the last five months of mayoral coverage.

All 17 seats on City Council — 10 district seats and seven at-large seats — will be on the ballot. Three positions on the City Commission are open, too, as well as a bunch of state and municipal judgeships.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the races for highly contested Philadelphia City Council seats in the 2nd District and 7th District until the results come in tonight. 

Take a look at NewsWorks/WHYY’s handy Voters Guide for a quick, informative and unbiased take on who’s running for what today. 

Voters also have the chance to weigh in on four “yes or no” ballot questions. Here’s the Committee of Seventy’s explainer on those questions and what the implications are “in plain English.” Any voter, regardless of political affiliation, can vote on these questions. 

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Registered voters are allowed to cast their ballot as long as they are in line at the appropriate polling location by 8 p.m. 

Wondering where to cast your ballot? Use the Pennsylvania voter services site to find out. 

Click here to submit a voter complaint to the Pennsylvania Department of State. 

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