Council race

Half-Century Reign on City Council for House Blackwell Appears Over in West Philadelphia Upset

Other close races marked one of the most crowded fields in memory for City Council seats. All the results are below, including the five winners in the race for Democrats' at-large seats.

What to Know

  • Jannie Blackwell and her husband before her, Lucien, have represented West Philadelphia for the last 45 years.
  • Blackwell has served six terms on Council.
  • In the closest race of the primary, incumbent Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez held onto her seat, NBC10 is projecting.

It's the end of an era on Philadelphia City Council and in West Philadelphia as six-term Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell trailed challenger Jamie Gauthier in the Democratic primary Tuesday.

Gauthier held a 56% to 44% percent lead, with 2,900 more votes than Blackwell after 97 percent of the precincts reporting.

NBC10 is projecting Gauthier the winner.

Blackwell took over the Third District, which makes up neighborhoods in West Philadelphia, when her husband Lucien left the seat in 1991. Between the Blackwells, they have represented the district for 45 years.

Gauthier is a West Philadelphia native and business leader. 

The closest Council race of the night was for North Philadelphia's Seventh District, between incumbent Maria Quiñones Sánchez and challenger Angel Cruz, a state representative.

NBC10 is projecting Quiñones Sánchez the winner over Cruz, with the incumbent Councilwoman roughly 500 votes ahead and 99 percent of precincts reporting as of 7 a.m. Wednesday. Cruz has not conceded.

She represents parts of North Philadelphia, including Kensington, Fairhill and Frankford, but has faced opposition throughout her first two terms from the city’s Democratic Party leadership. Her close relationship with the community, however, put her in position to retain her seat for a third term.

All 17 City Council seats were up for grabs. In addition to Blackwell and Quiñones Sánchez, four other incumbent district Council members faced primary challenges. Among those, Kenyatta Johnson beat out challenger Lauren Vidas. Other incumbents Mark Squilla, Curtis Jones and Cindy Bass cruised to victories in their Democratic primaries.

Johnson, who represents South Philadelphia west of Broad Street and parts of Southwest Philadelphia, looked poised to hold onto his seat for a third term. Vidas, a former City Council aide and political consultant, trailed by 60% to 40%, with 94 percent of precincts reporting.

Also closely-watched was the race for seven at-large seats. Like Kenney, the top five Democratic vote-getters are virtually guaranteed of election in November.

Two of the five Republicans with the most votes in the primary Tuesday will receive at-large seats guaranteed to the minority party. The City Charter requires that at least two of the seven at-large seats are represented by the minority political party.

The five Democrats with the most votes are incumbents Helen Gym, Allan Domb and Derek Green, as well as Isaiah Thomas and Katherine Gilmore Richardson.

Thomas, a former employee in the city controller's office, ran for City Council twice before while Richardson was chief of staff to retiring Councilwoman Blondell Brown Reynolds.

Gym, Domb and Green are all in their first term in office.

On the Republican side, the top five vote getters who will vie for two seats on Council are incumbents Al Taubenberger and David Oh and challengers David Tinney, Matt Wolfe and Bill Heeney.

Oh is seeking a third term. Taubenberger is seeking a second term. 

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