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