Philadelphia attorney launches GOP mayoral bid

Billy Ciangalini is announcing his candidacy for mayor of Philadelphia as a Republican. (Billy Ciancaglini for Mayor Facebook page)

Billy Ciangalini is announcing his candidacy for mayor of Philadelphia as a Republican. (Billy Ciancaglini for Mayor Facebook page)

South Philadelphia attorney Billy Ciancaglini said he plans to run against Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney next year as a Republican.

Ciancaglini doesn’t like Kenney’s sanctuary city policy or his plan for supervised injection sites for opioid users.

“I also disagree completely with this soda tax,” Ciancaglini said in a phone interview. “I don’t think it’s fair to put the onus of educating other people’s children on our hardworking corner store owners, and they seem to be the ones hardest hit by this.”

Ciancaglini, 47, has run for office only once, campaigning for common pleas judge in 2015.

He lost, but he got some attention with colorful campaign videos depicting him as a row house candidate who understands people and won’t try and ingratiate himself with politicians.

“They were the greatest thing ever put on the internet, if you ask me,” Ciancaglini said of the videos.

Uphill climb

The odds are long for Ciancaglini — or anyone carrying the GOP banner next year.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in Philadelphia nearly 7-1, and there hasn’t been a Republican mayor since the 1950s.

Ciancaglini isn’t running away from President Donald Trump.

His Facebook page mocks CNN coverage of the president, and Ciancaglini said while he knows Trump is “an incredibly polarizing individual … I tend to judge people on the job they are doing. So far, I think he’s doing an OK job.”

Before Ciancaglini gets to face Kenney, he’ll have to secure the Republican nomination, and Republican City Committee Chairman Michael Meehan said in a phone interview that others are interested in exploring a run.

He said he’s spoken to Republican ward leaders Mark Cumberland and Daphne Goggins.

John Featherman, who narrowly lost the Republican nomination in the 2011 party primary, said he’s strongly considering another run.

Kenney’s campaign spokesperson Lauren Hitt said in a statement that “under Mayor Kenney, crime is at a 40-year low, and our education system is the strongest it’s been in recent memory.”

“Rather than ignore the heroin encampments that have long existed around our city, the mayor has tackled the issue head on,” Hitt said, “using a range of innovative ideas and services to help hundreds of people into recovery, and to help the surrounding neighborhoods thrive.”

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