Donna Gentile O’Donnell drops out of the 8th District race

With new developments Thursday night the Eighth District City Council race is beginning to tighten up.

The well heeled and politically savvy Chestnut Hill candidate Donna Gentile O’Donnell resigned from the race in a late email to friends and supporters.

“With a heavy heart I write to tell you that I will be withdrawing as a candidate in the Eighth Council District,” she wrote.

She made the choice because of her assessment of the way the race will play out with the ten candidate field. “The “can win” scenario that I originally envisioned is simply not in the cards.”

The decision comes just a day after O’Donnell drew the last ballot position at City Hall beneath each of those other candidates.

O’Donnell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The timing also corresponds with what appears to be a late challenge to the nominating petitions of at least two of her fellow candidates in the race, though in her email O’Donnell said her 3000 signatures were un-challenged.

Friday morning Fay Dawson and Andrew Lofton will attend hearings to consider challenges to some of the signatures they collected.

A former commissioner for Ed Rendell during both his terms as mayor and the wife of a former Speaker of the Pa. House, O’Donnell brought considerable political clout to the table. She also had $100,000 in the bank after two months of fundraising and another $150,000 in commitments, according to her email.

O’Donnell planned to run on a platform of shaking things up at City Hall by facing the tough decisions head on, she said in earlier interviews. Among her main concerns were  reform at the Philadelphia School District, dealing with hunger issues, real estate tax reform, encouraging small local economies and dealing with the city’s unfunded pension liabilities.

NewsWorks will continue to follow this story and the story of the apparently late challenges to nominating petitions.

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