Statewide races, Philly charter changes on ballot for May 15 primary

Pennsylvanians will go to the ballots on Tuesday for this year’s primary, voting to choose their party’s nominees for coming elections in November. From ballot questions in Philadelphia to statewide races, here are some of the biggest races to watch on May 15:

Sexual harassment

Philadelphia voters will get a ballot question about whether to mandate sexual harassment training for all city employees and officers, first introduced by City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown in partnership with the other female members of council.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace is a widespread, intergenerational and complex epidemic,” Reynolds Brown said in a statement. “No one should live in fear of being sexually harassed when they walk into work every day. Let’s make certain that no one does.”

Police Advisory Commission

Also on the ballot in Philly is a proposed city charter change both increasing and stabilizing funding for the Police Advisory Commission, the city’s civilian police oversight agency.

The 13-member commission, which reviews police policy, communicate policy revisions to affected communities, and to investigate individual complaints if they are related to a “policy, practice or custom.” The Commission is set to get a steady funding stream of $500,000, a 25 percent increase over the current year, which they will use to add two more staffers.

Lt. Governor

Mike Stack, formerly state senator of the 5th district in Philadelphia, is fighting off plenty of contenders as he runs to keep his position as Lt. Governor. Stack, who chairs the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, has faced some issues in Harrisburg: he and his wife were alleged to have verbally abused staff, including a state-paid driver, and his wife went in for mental health treatment. Gov. Wolf later stripped stack of his state police security detail.

Known among the contenders running for his seat in the Democratic primary is John Fetterman, the outspoken progressive mayor of Braddock, Pa. who unsuccessfully ran in 2016 for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator, and has appeared at campaign events with US Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Other candidates include: Democratic candidate and former Philly deputy mayor Nina Ahmad, and Republican candidates Kathleen Ann Coder and Peg Luksik.

Governor (GOP)

Gov. Tom Wolf will face the Republican nominee for governor in November.

Scott Wagner, the top-polling GOP candidate, is a Trump-supporting York businessman (just like Wolf) who won election to the state senate in 2014 via write-in campaign, the first such win in state senate history. Wagner, a conservative who ran waste management and trucking businesses, has pledged to take the trash out of the state capitol: “Harrisburg does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending and mismanagement problem,” he has said.

Running against Wagner are Paul Mango, a healthcare consultant from Allegheny County who has never served in political offices and opposes the Affordable Care Act, and Laura Ellsworth, an attorney who is the only GOP candidate not to support ending property taxes. Wagner and Mango have reportedly spent millions on campaign ads attacking one another.

U.S. Rep. (3rd District)

U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, elected to Congress to represent the 2nd Congressional District under the old electoral map, is now running for re-election in the newly remapped 3rd Congressional District of Pennsylvania. Evans has racked up endorsements from many, including former Philly mayors Ed Rendell, John Street and Jim Kenney. He’s served in D.C. since being elected in 2016 when he left his position as Pa. State Rep. for the 203rd District which he’d held since 1981.

But Evans has faced a significant challenge from Kevin Johnson, pastor of Dare to Imagine Church and president/CEO of Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center, which offers education, job training and placement services.

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