Candidates now set sights on general election in November

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
VIDEO: Candidates set sights on general election
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The primary is over, and for Jim Kenney and Melissa Murray Bailey, the general election campaign begins now.

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- Just hours after Jim Kenney won the Democratic primary, his focus has shifted to the general election in November.

The same goes for GOP nominee Melissa Murray Bailey.

Fresh out of the blocks this morning after his sweeping victory, Kenney is taking part in a fundraiser for Broad Street Ministry, which provides meals for thousands of hungry and homeless Philadelphians.

Melissa Murray Bailey was also on hand today. She is the overwhelming underdog in the coming general election.

Check Pennsylvania primary results

There was no tension, only joy at Jim Kenney's headquarters Tuesday night as he won heavy majorities all over key wards and divisions across the city.

Kenney had cobbled together a broad and diverse voter coalition.

And the former councilman thanked all of them when he declared victory, saying, "Environmentalists, feminists, teachers, working families, first responders, unions, public school parents, clergy, the LGBT community, and immigrants."

The winner won't be decided until November. But when he or she takes office in January they will face many familiar issues.

Violence in the city is still one of the key issues. There were a reported eight shootings overnight - three of them fatal.

Violent crime is down statistically. Mayor Michael Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey say that's thanks to their much-maligned stop and frisk policy - a policy the democratic nominee calls discriminatory, and Jim Kenney has vowed to abolish it.

Kenney says, "If you have a program that divides the community from the police, and it doesn't result in anything positive going forward, it should be stopped."

In this her maiden plunge into seeking public office, where does the republican nominee stand on stop and frisk?

Bailey says, "I think we need to end anything that allows us to profile and discriminate against people in the city. We need to look at better ways to protect people, because if you look at the data, stop and frisk isn't working."

That political hot potato of course leads to another - Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey himself.

Jim Kenney says Ramsey stays if he wants. But so far, Ramsey has not committed one way or another.

Kenney explains, "I told him it is his choice... But he said he's thinking about it, and he'll tell me what he wants to do when the appropriate time comes prior to January of 2016 - after November."

Bailey simply said, "No verdict on Ramsey."

Acknowledging she'll have little resources in terms of funding, Melissa Murray Bailey came out swinging today, calling her opponent just another city hall politician who is too tied to the powers that be to affect change.

She said, "If we look at the last mayor, who was in city council, and then became mayor. The mayor before that was in city council and became the mayor. So it's the same thing happening again. We can't do the same thing and expect different results. That', frankly, the definition of insanity."

Kenney responded by saying, "I've been in politics and government for almost 38 years. I mean, that's my profession - that's what I do. I mean, I don't consider it an insult. I consider that a statement of fact."

In addition to the democratic and GOP candidates, there may be a third hat tossed in the ring. Former city council member Bill Green Jr., who is still on the School Reform Commission, is said to be considering an independent run for mayor.