Incumbents retain council seats in contested 2nd, 7th Districts

 City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson is seeking re-election. (Brad Larrison/for NewsWorks)

City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson is seeking re-election. (Brad Larrison/for NewsWorks)

In lower Northeast Philadelphia, Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez has retained her Democratic nomination despite a stiff challenge from Committeeman Manny Morales.

Morales enjoyed local party backing until word of racist and homophobic facebook posts emerged, prompting the Philadelphia Democrats to withdraw their endorsement.  Morales claims his account was hacked and that he didn’t write the posts.

Despite her incumbent status, Quinones-Sanchez’ victory was within ten percentage points.  Speaking live on air during WHYY’s election coverage, Quinones-Sanchez said the tight race indicates divisions in her largely Latino district. 

“This community has to heal,” she said. “This was a very divisive race, and clearly some of what we saw was a sort of a changing of the leadership and an old guard to a new guard, and it’s my responsibility to figure out how folks work together and how we create an opportunity for folks to figure out where we can agree.”

In addition, both campaigns accused the other of election day violations, with Sanchez proclaiming that “somebody’s going to  go to jail after this election.”  Those accusations have gone to the District Attorney’s office.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia’s diverse Second Council District, incumbent Democrat Kenyatta Johnson easily held off a challenge from developer Ori Feibush in Tuesday’s primary.  Feibush, the owner and founder of OCF Realty. contributed a quarter of a million dollars to his campaign, but lost by a wide margin to the party-backed Johnson.

The debate this spring centered around development, with Feibush contending Johnson had shut him out on some projects.  Speaking live during primary coverage last night, Johnson said he’d work with Feibush.

“You know, I’ve always extended an olive branch to work with Mr. Ori Feibush as a developer in the Point Breeze community,” he said. “And so it’s just a matter of approach and how we both may differ as it relates to development we’d like to see throughout the second councilmanic district.” 

Feibush cast himself as the outsider running against the establishment.  The testy battle featured a declaration from Mayor Michael Nutter that Feibush was — quote — “a littler jerk with a big checkbook.” 

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