Kenney backs Evans in bid to oust Fattah from Congress

 State Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia, (left) is challenging U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in the April Democratic primary. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo and Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

State Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia, (left) is challenging U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in the April Democratic primary. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo and Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

State Rep. Dwight Evans is getting support from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in his bid to oust indicted U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah.

Kenney insisted his endorsing Evans is not a slight against Fattah, who is running for a 12th term in Congress. 

“This is not about not liking Chaka or not respecting what he’s accomplished,” he said. “This is about a new generation, a new era in Philadelphia politics, which is absent the racial math, where we all work together in every neighborhood.”

Kenney’s comments hearken back to April when Evans and other African-American leaders in the  “Northwest Coalition” gave him a game-changing endorsement in last year’s mayoral primary. They chose to support Kenney over state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, the leading black candidate in that race. 

Fattah does have support from other members of the local Democratic Party, including its chairman, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady.

However, it has not been a good week for Fattah who has had trouble raising campaign contributions while fighting federal corruption charges. On Tuesday, his son, Chaka Fattah Jr., was sentenced to five years in prison for tax and bank fraud.

In explaining his endorsement of Evans, Kenney did not bring up the Fattah family’s legal troubles. Instead, he focused on his long working relationship with Evans, whom he said is growing weary of deadlock in the state legislature.

“I know there’s a frustration level with him in Harrisburg and with all good-meaning legislators without being able to get a lot of stuff done,” Kenney said. “And I think if maybe he can turn his sights to Washington, he’ll be re-energized and bring back the old Dwight that was bringing back resources to the community.”

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