Most two-term Council members cruise to re-election in Philadelphia, but Maria Quiñones-Sánchez is in for another bruising battle to keep her lower Northeast Philadelphia seat.
On Wednesday, she got the backing of three prominent Democrats from her district — City Controller Alan Butkovitz, former Councilman Dan Savage and state Rep. Jason Dawkins.
But many of the traditional powers in the district, including ward leader Carlos Matos, state Rep. Angel Cruz and state Sen. Tina Tartaglione, are backing her rival, former state employee Manny Morales.
Morales got the support of the city Democratic organization before word spread of bigoted posts on his Facebook page — posts he says he’s not responsible for. Morales gave up the party endorsement, and the district’s ward leaders remain divided.
When I spoke to Morales yesterday, he said the incumbent’s inability to get along with district politicians makes her ineffective “because if you don’t have a relationship with our state elected officials, then you won’t be able to service the people. And I’m going to be able to service the people.”
When I asked Quiñones-Sánchez yesterday why she couldn’t get the support of some ward leaders, she said some are more concerned with who’s in charge than with getting things done.
“Particularly the folks that oppose me are people who are very parochial in their thinking, and have not evolved with how politics and the needs of the community have evolved,” she said.
Morales claims that Savage, who ran twice against Quiñones-Sánchez, endorsed her only because she promised to back him in a future run for Tartaglione’s state Senate seat.
“That’s called projection,” Quiñones-Sánchez. “That’s how they operate, so they assume everybody else does, too.” She and Savage said there was no such understanding.
Quiñones-Sánchez and Morales face off in the May 19 Democratic primary.