Philly Latino leaders in Harrisburg deliver first mayoral endorsement for Cherelle Parker
State Representative Jose Giral and predecessor Angel Cruz came to City Hall to back Parker, possibly splitting the Latino vote in the North.
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Endorsement season in Philly thrives whether it rains or shines.
And on Thursday, March 23, State Representatives José Giral and Donna Bullock, accompanied by former Rep. Ángel Cruz, announced their support for Cherelle Parker in the race for mayor at City Hall.
Gathered at the Northeast corner of City Hall, the representatives praised Parker for her ideas to tackle public safety and the unity between Black and Brown communities, possibly signaling a split in how votes will pan out north of Lehigh Avenue.
“Let’s make history. Our 100th mayor will be Cherelle Parker, a woman, let’s make sure to get it right this time. We’ve had men, now we’re gonna have a woman,” said Cruz, now a Democratic ward leader with no known further political aspirations. He urged those “that have kept me in office for so many years to trust the decision that I’ve made.”
Cruz, a two-decade incumbent in District 180, shared a 10-year overlap in the state legislature with Parker, who herself served there before pursuing and winning a city council seat to represent District 9 in the city’s Northwest.
“To have them stand up and say, Cherelle Parker, we’re going to fight this fight with you…it means the world to me,” Parker told AL DÍA, following the endorsement proceedings.
Stressing the need for a diverse coalition, Parker said she was “honored and humbled that the three of them came together to affirm” their support of her campaign. “[Philadelphians] want to see that their lives really do matter in a tangible way and not because somebody yells real loud while giving a speech.”
Cruz’s endorsement should be no surprise for those either plugged into the political dynamics of Philadelphia’s District 7 or who are familiar with Cruz and Maria Quiñones Sánchez, who, for 14 years, represented parts of the same region alongside Cruz before launching her mayoral campaign.
Quiñones Sánchez’s years-long feud with Cruz is well known, and her mayoral campaign has begun to suffer the effects of thinning support in key areas of her former district as the representatives mobilized toward her opponent.
Giral and Quiñones Sánchez share parts of Fairhill, Kensington and Hunting Park.
Aren Platt, the Senior Adviser for Cherelle Parker’s campaign, said the endorsement “speaks to her ability to govern and her ability to lead, and they know her well. I can’t speak to anything else,” responding to questions about the discussion that drove the endorsement.
“I can’t speak to Maria Quiñones Sánchez.”
Who will voters turn to?
The move by Parker to seek backing in the lower northeast could prove an effective move for the campaign. A Philadelphia Inquirer report analyzed voting behavior in District 7 and found that, in primaries, half of the voters are swayed by establishment candidates, while the rest siphon into smaller categories.
In the 2016 presidential primary, for example, 69.4% of voters cast their ballot for Democrat Hillary Clinton, while 30.2% went to Bernie Sanders, who aligned himself with progressives.
2021 mirrored a similar pattern in the District Attorney race, with 52.5% of the voting population supporting Larry Krasner and 47.4% in support of Carlos Vega, the defeated candidate.
Cruz’s successor, Giral, served as his aide for many years before seeking elected office and is seemingly following in the footsteps of his predecessor, sharing praise for Parker, who “will make Philadelphia great again.”
Today’s endorsement, for Giral, marks his first public endorsement of a mayoral candidate since taking office last January.
“She’s going to be tough on crime, and I think she has what it takes to become the next mayor,” Giral told AL DÍA News.
“There’s a lot of qualified people, but I think [Cherelle Parker] is the most qualified,” Giral continued and wished Quiñones Sánchez “all the best.”
“It was a tough decision,” he said, “and just for the record, [Maria Quiñones Sánchez] never reached out to me for an endorsement.”
Responding to questions about the day’s events, Quiñones Sánchez conveyed incoming plans for the campaign that don’t rely on the boys club in District 180.
“I would never seek their endorsement because they do not share my values. I am very confident in our campaign’s ability to engage the Latino community and further announcements will be forthcoming,” Quiñones Sánchez said in a statement.
But even if tensions persist, it remains to be seen whether Quiñones Sánchez can salvage chunks of voters in the shared regions.
Last Fall, months after she stepped down from her district seat to run for mayor, she ushered in Quetcy Lozada to succeed her while the primary in May shapes up.
Lozada heads to the primary with unanimous support from ward leaders in District 7.