Mayor Jim Kenney Raises 11 Times as Much Campaign Cash as Challenger Anthony Hardy Williams - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Mayor Jim Kenney Raises 11 Times as Much Campaign Cash as Challenger Anthony Hardy Williams

Incumbent has huge advantage in funding with six weeks to go before the Philadelphia primary election.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Soda Tax Fight Takes Center Stage in Race for Philly Mayor

    Ax the soda tax is a message you may hear around Philadelphia during the race for mayor. Mayor Jim Kenney proposed this beverage tax and now it could affect his chances at re-election. NBC10 Lauren Mayk has the story from the newsroom. (Published Monday, April 8, 2019)

    Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney's challengers in the Democratic primary are in a big funding hole with six weeks to go before the May 21 election, according to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday.

    Kenney reported having $655,000 cash in his campaign warchest, more than 11 times as much as one of his challengers, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, who reported having $49,000.

    The other Democratic challenger, former City Controller Alan Butkovitz, was not yet filed in the city's campaign finance database. The first filing deadline for campaign funding was Tuesday, six weeks before Election Day.

    Kenney's report showed contributions from labor unions among the many donations of $11,900, the limit that groups or businesses can give in Philadelphia local elections.

    Williams, in a sign of life for his campaign, scored several $3,000 donations — the limit for individuals — from grocery store owners, including local ShopRite magnate Jeff Brown. Brown shuttered one of his ShopRite stores in West Philadelphia earlier this year.

    Williams has vowed to end Philadelphia's sugary beverage tax, the milestone achievement of Kenney's first term as mayor.

    A spokeswoman for Williams' campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

    Kenney is seeking a second four-year term. Philadelphia mayors are able to serve two terms. An incumbent mayor hasn't lost re-election more than 50 years.

    If Williams or Butkovitz, who also has vowed to appeal the beverage tax, is to mount a challenge to Kenney, outside political action committees would likely have to play a role. Speculation in political circles has long expected that Super PACs — dark money political groups — supported by Big Soda industry money could jump into the race to prop up one of Kenney's challengers.

    The American Beverage Association began a two-week television advertising campaign April 6 that appeals to City Council members to tear down the tax, which charges distributors 1.5 cents per ounce on every sugary beverage sold in the city.

    Political Ad: Soda Industry Puts Pressure on Philly City CouncilPolitical Ad: Soda Industry Puts Pressure on Philly City Council

    A new political advertisement produced by a consortium of beverage companies is calling for Philadelphia City Council to reverse Mayor Jim Kenney's signature legislation: the sugary drink tax.
    (Published Monday, April 8, 2019)

    The revenue pays for expanded pre-K and construction projects at city recreation centers, libraries and schools.

    It's Official: Candidates for Mayor, Sheriff, City Council in Philadelphia

    Incumbents in nearly every elected position in Philadelphia are facing competition in the upcoming May municipal elections. Notably, Mayor Kenney faces an old foe, and two women are trying to unseat the incumbent sheriff and become the first-ever female sheriff in the city.

    Democrat names are in blue and Republicans in red.