Sunday, March 29, 2015

2nd District Council race down to four

The campaign for the second district City Council seat, currently occupied by Council President Anna C. Verna, is now down to four with the withdrawal Wednesday of South Philly lawyer Vincent DeFino.

2nd District Council race down to four

The campaign for the second district City Council seat, currently occupied by Council President Anna C. Verna, is now down to four with the withdrawal Wednesday of South Philly lawyer Vincent DeFino.

The district that covers South Philly, mosly west of Broad, up into parts of Center City and out over Southwest and the airport, has some interesting racial and political demographics. In a district that is majority black, all the ward leaders are white.

And now Barbara Capozzi, an attorney and real estate agent from Packer Park, is the lone white candidate against three African-Americans: attorney Damon K. Roberts, who lost to Verna in 2007; state Rep. Kenyatta Johnson; and Southwest neighborhood activist Tracey Gordon.

DeFino's campaign manager, Gregg Kravitz, said DeFino could not win with Capozzi still in.

"It became clear that if Barbara is staying in the race, considering how many supporters they had in common, she certainly would have blocked his path to victory," Kravitz said Tuesday night.

Verna is retiring at the end of the year as a participant in the city's DROP program. She has represented the district since 1975, when she won election to succeed her father, who died in office.Verna has not yet endorsed a successor.

 

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The race to replace outgoing City Council President Anna C. Verna in her second district seat is down to five candidates with the withdrawal Monday of attorney Richard C. DeMarco.

DeMarco, an attorney specializing in zoning and land-use matters for the Center City law firm Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg, said Monday an illness in the family will leave him unable to devote his full attention to a campaign, and he would throw his support behind attorney Vincent DeFino.

"My family and the DeFino family have known each other for decades, and I believe Vince has what it takes to represent this district, bring positive change to City Hall, and carry my message of reform and accountability," DeMarco said in a press release.

It's still not clear whether all five candidates will stay in the race, in the district that covers South Philly, mosly west of Broad, up into parts of Center City and out over Southwest and the airport.

The other candidates are attorney Damon K. Roberts, who lost to Verna in 2007, state Rep. Kenyatta Johnson, Southwest neighborhood activist Tracey Gordon, and Packer Park real estate agent Barbara Capozzi. Political strategists expect the jockeying for position to fall along racial lines, with candidates calculating to what extent the Africa-American vote would be broken up between Roberts, Johnson and Gordon, or the white vote between DeFino and Capozzi.

Verna has represented the district since 1975, when she won election to succeed her father, who died in office. DeMarco worked for Verna from 1994-2000. Verna has not yet endorsed a successor.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Chris Hepp, Tricia Nadolny, Julia Terruso, and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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