Philadelphia City Council election makes history

Wins by Brooks and O'Rourke means only 1 member of the Republican Party will be left on the 17-seat governing body of the city

Wednesday, November 8, 2023
2023 Philadelphia city council election makes history
There were several historic moments in Tuesday's election, including for Philadelphia's city council.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Changes are coming at Philadelphia City Hall after several historic moments in the races for city council. Rue Landau became the first openly LGBTQ+ member elected to the Philadelphia City Council. Working Families Party Councilmember Kendra Brooks also won her reelection.

Landau previously said that during the primary election it became clear there was no turning back. The Democrat told Action News that her win was a long time coming.

""I am so excited. Philadelphia has once again made history. I'm the first openly LGBTQ council person ever, and I will serve with pride and make sure that Philadelphia remains a beacon of safety for the LGBTQ community," Landau said.

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Landau, a housing and civil rights attorney, had already made history before winning Tuesday's election. She and her partner were the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in Pennsylvania back in 2014.

Another change for the council is with the at-large seats as five of them were won by Democrats. But, it appears the Working Families Party will claim the two remaining seats.

Brooks declared victory Tuesday night, winning reelection. Her running mate, Nicholas O'Rourke, is also poised to win.

The two are claiming seats historically reserved for minority parties on the Philadelphia council. Those seats have been held by Republicans for more than 70 years.

O'Rourke addressed his crowd of supporters Tuesday night.

"I believe that our values are expressed by the majority of the city. Not just the city, I argue that many across this country understand that when you're fighting to make sure we have fully-funded schools, that folks have stability in their housing, that they have safer streets, greener city, cleaner city, that's something we can all get in on," he said.

ALSO SEE:Democrat Dan McCaffery wins open seat on Pennsylvania Supreme Court

The Working Families Party and Democratic Party are the two parties that control the at-large seats.

Wins by Brooks and O'Rourke means that only one member of the Republican Party will be left on the 17-seat governing body of the city.

Action News spoke with O'Rourke one-on-one as he hit the polls on Election Day.

"What the Working Families Party exists to be, is a political party that creates political power for the multi-race and multi-culture working poor. For those who have traditionally not had access to voice that have not had influence," O'Rourke said.

Right now, Republican Brian O'Neil is the only member of the GOP expected to hold a seat on the Philadelphia City Council. He's been in office since 1980, representing the 10th District in Northeast Philadelphia.

For more on election results, visit the 6abc election results page.