Jim Kenney, a South Philadelphia politician and former member of city council rode into the Mayor’s office Tuesday by a steep margin over Republican Melissa Murray Bailey.
With 88 percent of precincts reporting, Kenney had garnered 84 percent of the vote, to Bailey’s 14 percent.
The win was hardly a surprise. In a city with a steep Democratic voter registration advantage, Kenney was long considered the front-runner since winning the six-way Democratic Primary in May.
It was, for the most part, a sleepy election, one in which Kenney calculated that he merely had to keep his head down to maintain the advantage.
Bailey was articulate and engaged on the campaign trail, but the political newcomer could not make inroads with city voters.
Kenney began his career as a political protege of former state Sen. Vince Fumo, who ruled Philadelphia and Pennsylvania politics with a mix of patronage and political leverage until he was convicted of corruption-related offenses in 2009.
But his political profile has evolved along with a city whose political elites have become more progressive and technocratic.
Long seen as ward heeler with a Catholic upbringing and an affinity for blue collar, union-backed politics, Kenney came to be the driving force on protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender city employees. He was also a key proponent in the fight to decriminalize marijuana in the city.