Williams, Kenney battle for black votes amid racial-math tango

 Mayoral candidate Anthony Hardy Williams speaks to Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity members after receiving the group's endorsement on Thursday. (Brad Larrison/for NewsWorks)

Mayoral candidate Anthony Hardy Williams speaks to Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity members after receiving the group's endorsement on Thursday. (Brad Larrison/for NewsWorks)

WHYY’s Dave Davies used Thursday morning’s Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity endorsement of mayoral candidate Anthony Hardy Williams as the perfect segue into his story about the endorsee and rival candidate Jim Kenney’s battle for African American votes.

It came on a day when a union-sponsored poll declared “as expected, race plays a powerful role, with Williams (39 percent) holding a large lead over Abraham (17 percent) and Kenney (13 percent) among African Americans while Kenney (43 percent) leads Abraham (30 percent) and Williams (9 percent) among white voters.”

After an event at which Williams railed against being defined on racial terms —”Clergy isn’t just endorsing the black guy; they are endorsing a candidate with a vision for all of Philadelphia” — Davies put it all into context.

Kenney released a statement Thursday saying he was moved that he got the backing of the executive committee of the clergy group, before Williams won the majority in a membership vote. Asked about that at the endorsement news conference, Rev. Griffiths said he couldn’t discuss the group’s internal process.

While Williams says he rejects the idea of dividing to win, his campaign has put up a website attacking Kenney’s past positions related to police community relations.

This dynamic has also played out in the rhetoric of a Northwest Philadelphia endorsement and counter-endorsement tango and in the placement of campaign ads on African American talk-radio stations.

You can read Davies’ story via this link.

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