Field of contenders narrows in race for City Council president as mayoral race loses a candidate

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Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The field of candidates is narrowing in the race to succeed retiring Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke. And the race to replace outgoing Mayor Jim Kenney lost a candidate.

Two candidates withdrew from the in the Fifth District City Council race, and two more were knocked off by challenges to their nominating petitions, including one who would have to be considered a front-runner.

Curtis Wilkerson, Clarke’s former chief of staff, would have been his anointed successor, but after a judge upheld challenges to signatures on his petitions, he did not have the required 750 to make it onto the ballot.

Attorney Kevin Greenberg, who filed the challenge, said Wilkerson did a good job but got a late start because he was waiting for Clarke to decide if he would run again and, with seven candidates for the seat, it was a tough year to get the needed signatures.

If all of the challenges are successful, there could be a vigorous write-in campaign in the primary and, perhaps, some independent or third-party candidates in the general election.

Hearings on the fate of the three remaining candidates are scheduled for later this week. The candidates can appeal being removed from the ballot.

Mayoral candidate withdraws

The mayor’s race lost a candidate, too. John Wood, a former Philadelphia police officer, withdrew his name on Wednesday, the deadline for candidates to voluntarily do so.

A virtual unknown, Wood was making his first run for elective office. He drew the top ballot position last week, which gave his candidacy a boost. However, in a statement from his campaign, he said he could not compete with the millions of dollars more high-profile candidates have been raising.

The coveted top ballot spot now goes to former City Council member Cherelle Parker.

There is still a challenge pending against mayoral candidate Amen Brown.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio