St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 22 E. Chestnut Hill Ave., served as a polling place for the 9th Ward’s 7th and 8th divisions for the primary election on May 16. (Photo by Jan Alex)

by Brendan Sample

With the results in from Tuesday’s citywide primary elections , 9th Ward voters largely conformed with voting patterns across Philadelphia in nominating Larry Krasner and Rebecca Rhynhart as the Democratic candidates for District Attorney and Controller, respectively.

In the DA race, Krasner managed to edge out a win in the 9th Ward with 40.79 percent of the vote. He did so over fellow Democrat Joe Khan, even though Khan was officially endorsed by the ward. None of the other candidates managed to come close to either of those totals, as Rich Negrin was the next closest with 12.18 percent.

With only a few percentage points separating Krasner and Khan in the ward, it comes as little surprise that they were also neck-and-neck in the number of precincts they both won. Krasner secured a majority of votes in eight of the 9th Ward’s 17 precincts, Khan won seven and two ended in a tie.

Rhynhart, on the other hand, was able to secure a much larger margin of victory in the ward, getting 67.62 percent of the Democratic vote. This proved to be a big win over both incumbent Alan Butkovitz, who received 31.56 percent, and Bobbie Curry, a late addition to the Controller race who only had 32 votes for 0.83 percent.

In terms of voter turnout, the DA vote saw approximately 44 percent of registered Democrats come to the polls, and about 40 percent for the Controller election. Approximately 9,500 voters were registered as Democrats in the ward as of November. State representative and newly named 9th Ward leader Chris Rabb expressed both his enthusiasm over Krasner’s victory and his disappointment at the low turnout numbers.

“Ward committees, community-based organizations, educational institutions and local media can all do much better – especially if we work together,” Rabb said. “The real goal going forward is to transform this Ward committee into  a community-centered resource for voter education and public dialogue about how we improve our collective condition through electoral politics and complementary means, and making sure the pillars on which this work is founded are transparency, accountability, equity and integrity.”

Both Krasner and Rhynhart will now move on to the general election in November, where they will face their Republican opponents, Beth Grossman and Mike Tomlinson, respectively. Grossman and Tomlinson were both the only Republicans to run for their party’s nomination, thus securing their spots in Tuesday’s primary with no competition.

Looking at the primary results across Philadelphia, the 9th Ward ultimately voted for the same candidates as the city, with Krasner and Rhynhart winning the overall vote. As of the writing of this piece, there are still six individual precincts in Philadelphia that have not been accounted for in the final vote, but both candidates still received enough votes to secure their nominations.

Krasner had a similar percentage in the city vote as he did in the ward, with 38.29 percent. He did, however, secure a higher margin of victory over Khan compared to the Ward results, with Khan getting 20.31 percent of the city’s votes. On the Controller side, Rhynhart also obtained a smaller but still sizable win over Butkovitz, securing 57.99 percent of the vote compared to Butkovitz’s 40.70.

In addition to the candidates, Hill residents were also asked to vote on two measures that would affect the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter. The first would allow specific contracts to be awarded based overall value to the city, while the second would create a Philadelphia Community Reinvestment Commission, which would look for opportunities for certain entities to collaborate and help communities across the city. The 9th Ward approved of both measures, which was in line with the city vote.

To see the most up-to-date election results, including detailed breakdowns by ward and division, you can visit phillyelectionresults.com.

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