Cherelle Parker won the Democrat primary for the Philadelphia mayoral race on May 16, paving the way for her to be elected as the city’s 100th mayor in November’s general election.
Parker, a former state representative and city council member, will face Republican David Oh in the Nov. 7 general election to replace Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat who has been in office since 2016. Oh ran unopposed.
A win for Parker in November’s election—which appears likely in a city where registered Democrats far outnumber Republicans—would make her the first woman to serve in the role in Philadelphia.
The city has not had a Republican mayor since 1952.
Parker did not make a public appearance after her victory, which her campaign said was due to a recent dental issue that required immediate medical attention.
However, she did share a statement on Twitter thanking her supporters.
“I’m so incredibly honored to have earned the Democratic nomination tonight,” Parker wrote. “It’s been a long road, and to see the tireless work of my campaign team, supporters, and family pay off is humbling.”
“I’m looking forward to November and bringing our city together as its 100th mayor,” she added.
Parker, 50, served for 10 years as a state representative for Northwest Philadelphia from 2005 to 2015 and became chair of Philadelphia’s delegation to the state Capitol in Harrisburg.
She was elected to city council in 2015 and later elected majority leader in January 2020. Parker resigned from Philadelphia City Council in September 2022 to run for mayor.
Her campaign focused heavily on safety, education, “cleaning and greening” the streets of Philadelphia, and bolstering economic opportunities.
She pledged to hire 300 additional foot and bike patrol officers to the streets of every neighborhood in the city, “without any tolerance for misuse or abuse of their power,” and to rehire retired police officers.
She also pushed for schools to stay open year-round with extended hours for before and after-school enrichment, and advocated raising the minimum wage to $17.53/hour, tied to the rate of inflation, amid soaring costs of living.
Additionally, Parker vowed to support small businesses and entrepreneurs with free business training.
Parker received endorsements from a string of political figures including U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pa.) and Democrat state Sens. Vincent Hughes, Sharif Street, and Art Haywood, as well as an array of labor unions and advocacy organizations.
Kenney said he voted for Parker in the primary.
Parker’s win was a blow to progressives who rallied around candidate Helen Gym, a former teacher, community organizer, city council member, and one of Parker’s closest competitors.
Gym, who was endorsed by progressive federal lawmakers such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), said in a statement on the day of the primary that the race for mayor was “never about one leader” but “about our values, our vision, and our belief in one another.”
Parker also fended off competition from candidates Allan Domb, who also previously served on the city council; Rebecca Rhynhart, the former city controller; and businessman Jeff Brown.
Domb congratulated Parker in a statement on Twitter and said he was “excited to help elect Cherelle as Philadelphia’s 100th and first woman mayor.”
Rhynhart said she was “really proud of the campaign and the way we all came together here to fight for a better Philadelphia,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.