Maria Quiñones Sánchez just made a big endorsement in Philly’s mayoral race. Why it matters

Will Latino voters follow her and support Democratic hopeful Cherelle Parker?

By: - May 3, 2023 12:40 pm

Former Philadelphia mayoral candidate Maria Quiñones-Sanchez (Philadelphia Tribune photo).

By Stephen Williams

PHILADELPHIA —  In a close race of the top five candidates for mayor, the endorsement of Cherelle Parker by former candidate Maria Quiñones Sánchez, would be significant if Latino voters follow her lead, political observers said.

Councilmember Cherelle Parker says “I think we, at the local level, can come up with solutions not just for Philadelphia, but also for Pennsylvania, and the nation.”
Philadelphia mayoral candidate Cherelle Parker (Philadelphia Tribune photo).

Quiñones Sánchez, who made her announcement Tuesday, represented the 7th Council District, before resigning to run for mayor. Her former district is home to many of the city’s Latino voters. She will be the second former opponent to endorse Parker.

In April, when Quiñones Sánchez ended her campaign, she said that Latinos still had the ability to choose the next mayor of the city.

“When I suspended my campaign and issued the Agenda Latina, I called on all candidates to make a renewed and sincere effort to engage Philadelphia’s Latino community,’ Quiñones Sánchez, said. “In my conversations with them since then, Cherelle has demonstrated the best understanding of the goals I outlined and the strongest commitment to achieving them.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos make up about 16% of Philadelphia residents and about 13% are registered to vote.

“I am thrilled to have Maria’s support,” Parker said. “Her commitment to the city is unquestioned, and our alignment on so many issues, especially her Agenda Latina that has set a clear path forward for the future of the city and communities that need a voice in City Hall.”

With days remaining, Philadelphia mayoral poll shows virtual tie

Last week, Committee of Seventy released a poll that showed that the five top candidates in the race were in a virtual tie, when you consider the margin of error of about 4%. A Parker internal poll showed her in first place.

City voters have never elected a female. Today, three of the top candidates are women, including Parker, former Councilmember Helen Gym; and Rebecca Rhynhart, former City Controller. The other top candidates are Jeff Brown, whose family owns several supermarkets and Allan Domb, a former Council member and real estate mogul.

Citing the Committee of Seventy poll released last week, Maurice Floyd, a longtime political operative, said Parker is getting 31% of the Latino vote. A recent poll by the Black Leadership PAC, revealed that 40% of the city’s African-American voters are undecided.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos make up about 16% of Philadelphia residents and about 13% are registered to vote.

Some of them may break for Parker, Floyd said.

“So it tells me that in the end she looks like a winner,” Floyd said. “She still has room to grow.”

In April, former Councilmember Derek Green dropped out of the race and later endorsed Parker. Both live the vote-rich Northwest section of the city. Both are a part of the Northwest Coalition, a group of Black political activists and elected officials, such as U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-3rd District, is that part of Philadelphia.

In addition, Parker has the support of several current members of the city’s legislative body such as Council President Darrell Clarke, D-5th District; Councilmembers Mike Driscoll, D-6th District; Curtis Jones, D-4th District; Kenyatta Johnson, D-2nd District; Anthony Phillips, D-9th District and Mark Squilla, D-1st District. Evans also supports Parker.

In related news, the Black Leadership PAC endorsed Parker for mayor Monday.

“Her track record within City Hall and Harrisburg, the campaign she has run and her devotion to improving lives of all Philadelphians throughout her career, especially her work within Black communities led us to this decision,” said Michael Pearson, board chairman for Black Leadership PAC. “Cherelle’s experience as a former public school teacher, her plans to support and grow Black businesses, and her vision for safer communities and a thriving Black middle class make her the best candidate for mayor.”

City voters head to the polls on May 16 to nominate their party’s choice for mayor.

On Nov. 7, Philadelphia will elect its 100th mayor, replacing Mayor Jim Kenney, who is completing his second, and final, term.

Meanwhile, some of issues in Quiñones Sánchez’s “Agenda Latina,” include representation of the Latino community in all aspects of government, including the mayor’s cabinet, boards, commissions, department appointments, along with more opportunities for Latino vendors and contractors.

“As a state rep. and a District Council member, Cherelle didn’t get to pick and choose what to care about,” Quiñones Sánchez said. “She had to serve her constituents and solve problems. The mayor has to solve problems and make sure our government provides services in every neighborhood.”

Stephen Williams is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared

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