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Governor Shapiro’s Third-Party Endorsement Sparks Internal Dispute with Democrats

Governor Josh Shapiro backed Philadelphia City Councilwoman Kendra Brooks for a second term on Wednesday, defying some in his own party by endorsing a third-party candidate and siding with one of the most progressive officials in the city.

Currently, all seven at-large districts(meaning the entire city votes for these candidates). The Democratic nominees are all but guaranteed five of these seats because of the Democratic’s 7-to-1 voter registration advantage in the city. However, there is a rule that two of these seven seats are reserved for the minority party. These two available seats are a race between Kendra Brooks and Rev. Nicolas O’Rourke, both representing the progressive Working Families Party and five Republicans.

In 2019, Brooks made headlines with her groundbreaking victory. She defied all odds by securing one of the two seats, taking it away from the Republican party. This historic win marked a significant milestone, as Brooks became the first non-Republican to achieve such a feat in an astonishing 70 years.

The drama of Shapiro’s endorsement comes from Brooks’s biggest opponent, the Philadelphia Democratic Party. Bob Brady, chair of the city committee, warned any member of potential expulsion from the Democratic Party if they endorsed anyone outside of the Democratic Party for Council. The opposition to Brooks comes from the idea that for the progressive to win, fewer people vote for the Democratic candidates on their ballot.

Brady on Wednesday suggested Shapiro’s endorsement may violate state party rules that say members must support Democrats, asking: “Does he know that someone who votes for her has to cut a Democrat?” Some defense for Shapiro came from State Senator Sharif Street, chair of the Pennsylvania Democrats, who said Shapiro “can support who he chooses.”

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