Elections 2023

Democrat Ed Brown elected as Upper Darby’s first Black mayor

Ed Brown won Upper Darby’s mayoral election. (Kenny Cooper/WHYY)

Democrat Ed Brown has defeated Republican Brian Burke in Upper Darby’s mayoral race, becoming the first Black mayor of Pennsylvania’s eighth largest municipality.

“We have a lot of diversity in our township. So for me to be the first African American to be elected mayor by the constituents — by the community, I consider that a huge honor and that’s one that I take very seriously and will hold very near dear to my heart,” Brown told WHYY News.

In May’s mayoral primary, Brown, the current president of the Upper Darby School District Board of Directors, handily defeated Laura Wentz, the Democratic vice president of township council.

Buoyed by a unanimous endorsement from the Upper Darby Democratic Committee and a formal five-point plan to steer the township to his idea of success, Brown managed to defeat Burke, the sitting president of township council.

“The voters chose me and I take that seriously the fact that they did and I will do things to the best of my ability,” Brown said. “That’s the only way I know how to do them. You get all of me and 100% of my efforts.”

His platform focused on improving municipal services, bolstering the business sector, and supporting affordable housing, resonated with residents.

“Safety is first. Safety is paramount. It’s important that people have a sense of security in their home, in their community — the ones who work in Upper Darby and the ones who worship in Upper Darby — people need to feel like they’re safe in their community,” Brown said.

Voters initially elected Burke to council as a Democrat in 2019, but he switched parties in 2022 following a public feud with the Keffer administration and Democratic party leaders over the township’s handling of American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Burke ran unopposed in the Republican primary.

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