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As She Leads in Latest Poll, Locals Ask: What Would Mayor Gym Mean for Suburbs?

A recent poll shows that Helen Gym is ahead of the field — slightly.  What would a Philadelphia mayor who is an unapologetic progressive mean to the businesses and families in the suburbs?

The Emerson College/PHL17 Poll has “Gym at 21 percent, followed by Cherelle Parker with 18 percent, Rebecca Rhynhart with 18 percent, and Allan Domb with 14 percent. Jeff Brown trails with 10 percent.” The poll showed that 15 percent were undecided less than a week from Election Day (May 16).

“When these voters are asked which candidate they lean towards, and that is added to their total support, Gym’s support increases to 23 percent, Parker to 21 percent, Rhynhart to 20 percent, and Domb to 17 percent,” the poll stated.

“This is an exciting race where there is no clear frontrunner,” said  Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling. “The top four candidates are within the poll’s margin of error and could receive the most votes depending on demographic turnout.”

Gym could win the Democratic nomination with fewer than a third of the electorate because so many candidates are running and dividing up the vote totals. And with a 7-1 Democratic voter registration, the Democratic nominee will likely be the next mayor, barring a major upset. Republican David Oh, a former city councilman, is unopposed in the GOP primary.

“Like many Chester County voters, I am concerned about the rising crime in Philadelphia and its spread to the suburbs. As I write this, Helen Gym is holding a campaign rally with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, which tells me everything I need to know about whether she will hold criminals accountable. There’s only one candidate in the Philadelphia mayoral race that I trust to make the city and its suburbs safer, and that is City Councilman David Oh,” said Eric Roe, a former Pennsylvania state representative and candidate for Chester County Commissioner.

Guy Ciarrocchi, former president of the Chester County Chamber of Commerce, said, “I think the big unspoken and unwritten story is the number of businesses making plans to close or relocate to the suburbs. Almost no one will talk on the record, nor will the chamber or other business leaders.  How many chose to close matters, and how many relocate to the suburbs matters. And in my opinion, it’s no victory when a major employer leaves center city or Port Richmond and relocates to King of Prussia.

“But the issue is that many are preparing for the worst—higher taxes, increased crime with little or no consequences, and underperforming schools.”

Pat Poprik, chair of the Bucks County Republicans, believes a Gym mayoralty will not be good for the suburbs or the city.

“I think she’s very progressive, further left than Mayor Kenney.” Poprik said, noting that Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came to rally with Gym on Sunday.

Gym tweeted: “I am honored to stand with two of the most inspiring political leaders and fiercest fighters for working people. The eyes of the nation are on Philadelphia because we are going to make history this Tuesday.”

Sanders tweeted: LIVE from PHILADELPHIA: Join @aoc  and me as we rally to make @HelenGymPHL – a true fighter for the working class – the next mayor of Philadelphia!”

And AOC retweeted Gym: “Everything must change. On Tuesday, vote for courage and transformation. This is our moment to build a Philadelphia where public schools are strong, communities are safe, workers are protected, and young people have a future to believe in. We get the city we fight for.”

Poprik says this is the wrong message for suburbanites who are increasingly concerned about the state of the city.

“That doesn’t bode well for the city. Bucks Countians don’t want to go there. You don’t feel safe there,” Poprik said. And that will only get worse if Gym takes over and drives more left-wing policies. “Philly has so many problems that could bleed into our counties,” she said. More Philadelphia residents will move to the suburbs. “They’re fleeing California (because of progressivism),” she said.

“It’s too much,” she said. “It’s out of control. I don’t think it’s best for the city to have somebody that liberal.”


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McCormick Signs Books, Sounds Like a Senate Candidate, at Philly Event

On Wednesday, stacked copies of Dave McCormick’s new book “Superpower in Peril: A Battle Plan to Renew America” stood ready at the entrance to the 28th-floor office suite of the Philadelphia law firm Cozen O’Connor.

Nearby, friends, fans, and acquaintances vied for a chance to talk to the author and, perhaps more importantly, potential 2024 Senate candidate.

McCormick, the former Bridgewater CEO, ran for the U.S. Senate in 2022 and narrowly lost the Republican primary to Dr. Mehmet Oz. Speculation has swirled that he is considering a challenge to incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D) next year. His appearance Wednesday did nothing to dampen that speculation.

McCormick told DVJournal he was still mulling the decision and would move forward after discussing the matter with his family. Sources close to McCormick told DVJournal he would decide by late summer.

Casey announced his re-election bid this week. McCormick said Wednesday he always expected the Democrat to run for a fourth term and that Casey’s announcement does not affect his decision-making process. He is also unconcerned about a possible bid by fellow Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin).

Bellevue Communications Vice President Jeff Jubelirer said McCormick would “be a very formidable candidate against any Republican primary challenger as well as Sen. Casey.”

“I believe Republicans will overwhelmingly support McCormick in the primary, barring any surprises,” he said. “His background and roots in Pennsylvania, in addition to his strong conservative credentials, will make him tough to beat. And frankly, I believe he would have been a stronger opponent against Sen. John Fetterman than Dr. Oz.”

A recent Franklin & Marshall poll showed although only 29 percent of registered voters think Casey is doing an excellent or good job as senator, the Democrat nonetheless leads McCormick 42 to 35 percent and Mastriano 47 to 31 percent among potential voters.

McCormick told the 100 or so well-wishers at the book signing that he and co-author James Cunningham wrote “Superpower in Peril” because they believe America is “headed in the wrong direction.”

“We’re at $31 trillion in debt,” McCormick said. “We have a 40-year high in inflation. For the first time in the post-war period, the likelihood of getting out of the fourth quartile (of income) and making your way into the third, second, or first quartile is at an all-time low.”

“We’re being challenged on the global stage by China,” continued McCormick. “China is a threat, and our ability to take on that threat is diminishing by the day. And there’s a spiritual crisis. We’re in decline spiritually.”

“Our institutions, our schools, are teaching a version of American history that doesn’t say America is an exceptional country, with all its faults, that’s constantly gotten better,” he added. “And we see it in business where a progressive ideology that’s really chipping away at the basic premises of merit. We see in the military where the Army released its climate change strategy before it released its war-fighting strategy.”

The possible Senate hopeful is optimistic, saying the country has been through similar declines in the past. “We need a leadership agenda,” he said. “We need selfless leaders, visionary leaders that are going to take the country in the right direction.”

“That’s where we’ll find our way, in people stepping up and leading,” he said, noting many of those in the room had run for office or served in government.

McCormick, a Pittsburgh resident, served as undersecretary of the Treasury for international affairs under President George W. Bush. e grew up on a family Christmas tree farm in Bloomsburg. His father was chancellor at Bloomsburg University and for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

McCormick himself graduated from West Point and spent five years in the Army, serving in the first Gulf War.

Jubelirer said a potential Casey/McCormick matchup would be a “race to watch” that could “break or come close to breaking all Pennsylvania Senate campaign spending records to date.”

Pat Poprik, chair of the Bucks County Republican Committee, attended the event and said she will support McCormick if he runs.

“He has a great resume with excellent experiences in government, military, and building and growing very successful businesses,” Poprik said.

“I believe all of those life experiences will give him a better understanding of how to fix our government and to make decisions of significant importance that affect our country.”

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