A political corruption scandal and an open state Senate seat mean some Philadelphia voters are heading to the polls next month to pick new lawmakers.
Three special elections scheduled for Aug. 11 will mint new state representatives in the 174th District in Northeast Philadelphia; Southwest Philadelphia’s 191st District; and the 195th District in North and West Philadelphia.
Democrat John Sabatina Jr. resigned from his post in the 174th after winning a special election to the state Senate.
Ronald Waters resigned in the 191st after pleading guilty to conflict-of-interest charges. Ditto for Michelle Brownlee, who represented the 195th.
Waters and Brownlee were both part of a sting operation that caught several lawmakers accepting money or cash in exchange for official acts.
Democratic committeewoman Donna Bullock, who last worked for Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke, is one of two candidates running to replace Brownlee.
“I wanted to serve my community … to improve our schools, create job opportunities,” said Bullock.
She will face Republican ward leader Adam Lang, who wants to protect longtime homeowners in his Sharswood neighborhood from being pushed out by gentrification.
“The first piece of legislation I would introduce would be to change the tax assessment system to where a property’s tax assessment is locked in at the value that someone purchases their house,” Lang said.
In the 174th, Republican Timothy Dailey, a teacher, will challenge former City Councilman Ed Neilson.
In the 191st, Democrat Joanna McClinton, chief counsel to state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, is going up against political consultant Tracey Gordon, who is running as a member of the Tracey Gordon Party, and Republican Army veteran Charles Wilkins.
The candidates who win will serve the remaining 16 months of the two-year terms.
Voter registration heavily favors Democrats in all three districts, though voters with any party affiliation will be able to cast a ballot.