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Financial reports give insight into at-large City Council race

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Only a few days remain until Pennsylvania’s May 19 primary — when Philadelphia voters will choose a new mayor and may elect to dramatically shake up City Council.

Council’s seven at-large seats are up for grabs and at least one will be taken by a newcomer.

According to the city charter, at least two of these seats go to Republicans as the minority party. Historically, based on the city’s political demographics, Philly’s at-large Council members typically split five for the Democrats and two for the GOP.

To focus on the Democrats: On primary day, voters can choose five candidates from a list of both incumbents and newcomers.

The incumbents are Wilson Goode Jr., Bill Greenlee, Blondell Reynolds Brown, and Ed Neilson.

Based on name recognition and connections to powerbrokers, incumbents typically win. But in this race, at least one new face will join the 17-member body because Jim Kenney retired his at-large seat to run for mayor.

On Friday, the candidates had to file campaign reports reflecting their fundraising and expenses through May 4.

So what did we learn from poring through tomes of campaign finance reports?

1) Only four of the 16 candidates have more than $100,000 left in the bank.

At-large Candidate Total cash raised Cash spent Cash on hand
Wilson Alexander $6,982 $6,782 $199
Jenne Ayers $8,363 $6,978 $1,386
Marnie Aument-Loughrey $4,817 $2,688 $2,129
Blondell Reynolds-Brown $133,215 $104,922 $28,293
Carla Cain $665 $556 $109
Sherrie Cohen $270,415 $107,854 $162,561
Allan Domb $926,626 $670,404 $256,222
Wilson Goode Jr. $95,643 $64,638 $31,005
Derek Green $129,724 $74,291 $55,443
Bill Greenlee $201,654 $148,290 $53,365
Helen Gym $282,452 $71,593 $210,859
Ed Neilson $201,809 $154,022 $47,787
Frank Rizzo $29,060 $23,339 $5,721
Paul Steinke $415,400 $285,049 $130,351
Isiah Thomas $180,527 $113,149 $67,378
Tom Wyatt $199,084 $114,945 $84,139

As the chart above shows, real estate developer Allan Domb is in the best financial shape coming down the stretch, with a quarter of a million dollars left in the bank. Domb has already been advertising heavily on television. His stockpile of cash suggests he’ll continue pounding the airwaves until the primary.

Public education advocate Helen Gym has the next most remaining cash, with more than $210,000. She’s followed by attorney Sherrie Cohen (daughter of former City Councilman David Cohen) and former Reading Terminal Market general manager Paul Steinke.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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