2019 saw its elections bring home some great results if one is a Democrat and/or progressive. In Virginia, both Houses of the State Legislature were flipped into Democratic hands — despite a decade of gerrymandering by the Republican party. In Kentucky, incumbent Republican Matt Bevin wrapped himself in a Trump flag in his Governor race — he lost.
And in Philadelphia, the left-wing progressive “Working Families Party” won a city council seat that had traditionally been a GOP stronghold.
As BillyPenn.com reports:
As an unprecedented election night comes to a close, history has been made in Philadelphia: Voters took away a City Council seat that has been held by Republicans for generations.
Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks held an insurmountable lead of 10,000 votes over her nearest rival, according to unofficial election returns. The insurgent third-party candidate, who campaigned on ousting Republicans from City Hall, declared victory just after 11 p.m. on Tuesday night.
With nearly 95% of votes tallied, the five Democratic nominees clinched the remaining at-large seats, with the five highest vote totals. Two of Council’s seven at-large seats are reserved for candidates from a minority political party — and it was that bottom-ticket contest that proved the most competitive on Tuesday’s ballot.
Brooks was one of several third-party candidates — including her Council running mate Nicolas O’Rourke — looking to wrest a seat away from the local GOP.
The Working Families Party, for those who aren’t familiar, is a grassroots progressive party that has been growing since their founding in 1998. The party really grew to prominence in Philadelphia during the 2011 “Occupy Philadelphia” protests.
Brooks’ election signals more of a move to the left on Philly’s on City Council. She ran on issues like expanding affordable housing, fighting for some form of rent control and ending the 10-year property tax abatement, abolishing sheriff’s sales, and other progressive issues.
She also raised more money than any 3rd party candidate in the city’s history and had a popular progressive City Council Democrat Helen Gym championing her cause.
“For the first time in seven decades, we broke the GOP. … We beat the Democratic establishment,” Brooks announced to a raucous crowd of supporters as the results rolled in. “They said a black single mom from North Philly wasn’t the right person, but we have shown them that we are bigger than them.”