Gym endorsement crosses party lines, leaders

Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks, (left), and Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym, (right), pictured here in an endorsement video posted to Facebook (Kendra for Philly/Facebook)

Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks, (left), and Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym, (right), pictured here in an endorsement video posted to Facebook (Kendra for Philly/Facebook)

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym is endorsing a minor-party candidate on November’s election, riling  some of her fellow Democrats.

Gym is putting her support behind Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks, with whom she has worked for years.

Philadelphia Democratic Party chairman Bob Brady is dismayed.

“I don’t know why that’s happening. We have a slate of five, she’s a part of it, and now she’s asking someone to vote against herself or one of the other four candidates who won the nomination — that doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said.

Brady said the move is cutting one of the Democrats from the Gym sample ballot, because voters can only vote for five from one party. There are five Republicans, as well as independents and members of minor parties, running for the position.

“I don’t understand it, I don’t know who is advising her, but I don’t think its a good idea if she has any ambition. I’m getting a lot of phone calls from a lot of different people, a lot of her colleagues, a lot of our ward leaders, a lot of our elected officials don’t really understand unless it’s really a power play,” he said.

Gym wasn’t available to talk for this story, but Brooks posted a video of Gym giving her endorsement online.

In the video, Gym and Brooks talk about how she wants to “kick the party of Trump out of City Hall,” referring to the Republicans who win two seats set aside for “minority parties” under Philadelphia’s City Charter.  Gym also says in the video, “I believe in Kendra, I know she’s going to go out there and fight because that’s where she started.”

Brooks said she’s optimistic about her chances, even though Republicans have won those two seats for decades.

“I’m going in believing anything is possible, and with a strong team of support I believe that we can win,” Brooks said.

City Hall insiders say Gym does have ambitions of running for mayor in four years (when Mayor Jim Kenney can’t run for another term), but that would require resigning from City Council. By far, she won the most votes of any Council candidate in the May primary election, even though it was a highly crowded contest with dozens of candidates.

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