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After the Historic Primary in Philadelphia, a new mayor will face old problems


In the Democratic primary, Ms. Parker’s pitch to voters that she understood what their lives were like, as a Philadelphia native, as a black woman who was the daughter of a teenage mother and as the mother of a black son.

That appeal has raised hopes among black voters, said Carl Day, a pastor who leads the Culture Changing Christians Worship Center in one of the poorest and most violent areas of the city. “The expectation is certainly from the black community that she knows what we’re going through and so she’s definitely going to bring about change,” he said.

Still, he said, those hopes seemed to be held mostly by older black voters, who were also more likely to embrace Parker’s agenda, including her push for more policing.

Younger black Philadelphians, Pastor Day said, were more skeptical of Ms. Parker and even worried about some of her police schemes. Pastor Day already said he’s seen younger people online wondering what it means and saying nothing will change.

There’s an apparent contradiction here: that a city deeply unhappy with the way things are going just voted for a candidate endorsed by dozens of incumbent legislators, city council members and ward leaders — even the current mayor, Jim Kenney, a term-limited Democrat who has become very unpopular said he voted for her.

Isaiah Thomas, who won an at-large City Council seat on Tuesday, said that even with that support, it wasn’t fair to call her the establishment candidate — most of her opponents had their own networks of connections. But he said the breadth of her support, including unions and lawmakers, showed she knew how to build and maintain coalitions.

“She’s a worker,” said Mr. Thomas, who joined the Council in 2020 and worked with Ms. Parker manages its response to the crises of the past three years. “She understands the government, she understands the budget.”

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