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Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym in Philadelphia on Nov. 30, 2022.
Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym in Philadelphia in 2022.Carlos Nogueras / AL DIA News via Getty Images file

Members of Congress take sides in Philadelphia mayor’s race

Prominent national progressive lawmakers are backing a different candidate than two of Philadelphia's congressmen.


Some high-profile progressive lawmakers have recently weighed in on the Philadelphia mayor’s race, a move that’s putting them at odds with the two House Democrats who represent the vast majority of the city.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., endorsed former city council member Helen Gym on Wednesday, the latest progressive to do so. He tweeted that Gym is “a fighter for working families” who “has fought for strong public education, legislation to protect tenants’ rights, and healthcare for all.”

Gym also has support from a handful of prominent progressive Democratic House members, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Greg Casar of Texas. 

But two House Democrats who represent significant parts of Philadelphia — Dwight Evans and Brendan Boyle — have endorsed former city council majority leader Cherelle Parker. 

“I believe she will be an excellent mayor for this city, and she will do it what I call block by block,” Evans told The Philadelphia Inquirer when he endorsed Parker last month. “She was at the state level and the local level, and she knows how to use relationships. … That’s important to understand. You can’t do this by yourself. You need people to work with, and I believe she knows that and understands that.”

Gym and Parker are two of nine Democratic candidates competing in the May 16 primary. Just one Republican, Councilmember David Oh, is running.