MVP Partners Help Win Local Elections in FL + PA
Photo credits: Make the Road Action, PA Spotlight
We’re celebrating some big wins in Pennsylvania and Florida last week. Jacksonville is Florida’s largest city, America’s 12th largest city, and has been the largest city run by a Republican… until May 16th when Democrat Donna Deegan was elected Mayor in a major upset and repudiation of Ron DeSantis’ autocratic rule – despite being outraised four to one. MVP partners Florida Rising and Florida for All have spent many years building a base in Jacksonville and transforming the politics of Duval County.
On the same day, Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), saw another progressive sweep including a reform District Attorney and County Executive. In 2019, MVP partners supported local Pittsburgh organizers to challenge long-time incumbent DA Stephen Zappala. They came up short but began to strategically lay the groundwork for 2023. They recruited reform DA candidate Matt Dugan. Four years later, they challenged Zappala again and won. Electing Dugan will not only bring much-needed reform to the criminal legal system in Allegheny County but will shift the balance of power statewide with the PA District Attorneys Association which has enormous influence over Pennsylvania’s regressive state policy.
Our Western PA partners also worked hard to ensure Sara Innamorato won Democratic primary for the County Executive race in Allegheny County. Sara’s nomination tees her up to be the first female County Executive in Allegheny. This position controls a $5 billion budget and is critical in addressing climate and environmental regulations, housing shortages, voter access, and more. Sara has been a progressive champion, working closely with MVP partners such as 1Hood Power, PA United, and OnePA to build a shared vision to transform Allegheny County. And on top of everything else, they elected Khari Mosley, Director of 1Hood Power, to the Pittsburgh City Council. Not a bad week in Western Pennsylvania.
Sadly, community champion Helen Gym lost the Philly Mayor’s race, in the face of a deluge of attack ads funded by GOP mega donor Jeffrey Yass, and the machine power of an establishment candidate. Our PA partners are building a strategy to expose and address the outsized influence that Yass and other GOP mega donors are playing to stack the decks in Pennsylvania (an innovative model we haven’t seen in any other states). Democrats also held a crucial statehouse seat in suburban Philly. Slowly, but surely, MVP’s Pennsylvania partners are working county-by-county to transform the state. They have another big election this fall with a chance to elect a State Supreme Court Justice. And because of a “minority party” provision in the county charter, Philadelphians have the chance to flip two Republican seats (Philly city council and the Philly Board of elections) to another minority party: Working Families Party – stay tuned!