Henon prevails in 6th District Council race

Marty Bed­narek ac­know­ledged that he didn’t have the funds to provide a more com­pet­it­ive chal­lenge to Bobby Hen­on.

Bobby Hen­on be­lieves his talk about neigh­bor­hood re­viv­al, jobs, pub­lic safety and qual­ity-of-life is­sues won him the Demo­crat­ic primary in the 6th Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict.

“I ran a pos­it­ive cam­paign with a mes­sage that res­on­ated,” he said.

Hen­on, a Tor­res­dale res­id­ent, mar­ried fath­er of two young boys and polit­ic­al dir­ect­or of In­ter­na­tion­al Broth­er­hood of Elec­tric­al Work­ers Loc­al 98, de­feated Marty Bed­narek with 65 per­cent of the vote.

The out­come was not a sur­prise. Two Hen­on-com­mis­sioned, pre-elec­tion polls gave him a lead of 35 points.

The vic­tory party took place at Rose­wood Cater­ers, the same place Bed­narek, a banker, youth sports lead­er and former School Re­form Com­mis­sion mem­ber from Lex­ing­ton Park, an­nounced in Decem­ber that he would seek the seat.

Coun­cil­wo­man Joan Kra­jew­ski, Demo­crat­ic lead­er of the 65th Ward, had served since 1980, but she de­cided to re­tire. She planned to en­dorse state Rep. Mike McGee­han, who also had uni­on sup­port and was the fa­vor­ite to win the seat.

However, in early Janu­ary, McGee­han an­nounced that he would not run. Hen­on im­me­di­ately jumped in­to the race and col­lec­ted al­most all of the uni­on en­dorse­ments.

Still, Bed­narek won the nod from Kra­jew­ski and already had the back­ing of ward lead­ers Bob Del­lavella (55th), Pat Par­kin­son (57th), Marge Tartagli­one (62nd) and Lorri Bed­narek (64th), his wife.

Alan Butkovitz, Demo­crat­ic lead­er of the 54th Ward, signed on with Bed­narek.

However, Butkovitz, Del­lavella and Par­kin­son switched their al­le­gi­ances, giv­ing the party en­dorse­ment to Hen­on.

The party back­ing, the uni­on en­dorse­ments and a 3-to-1 ad­vant­age in cam­paign cash car­ried Hen­on to an easy vic­tory. Hen­on was able to run cable tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials. His op­pon­ent was not.

“I couldn’t over­come that money,” Bed­narek said at his elec­tion-night party at the Cot­tage Green. “It was an up­hill battle.”

Now, Hen­on will face Re­pub­lic­an Sandra Stew­art, a com­munity act­iv­ist from Ta­cony, in the gen­er­al elec­tion.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to run­ning the race full tilt,” he said.

At her home polling place at a church at Frank­ford and Shelmire av­en­ues, Kra­jew­ski was joined by Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5 pres­id­ent John McNesby and sev­er­al oth­er po­lice uni­on mem­bers back­ing Hen­on. The FOP dis­trib­uted hot dogs to voters. Hen­on won the di­vi­sion by five votes.

Later, Kra­jew­ski at­ten­ded Bed­narek’s party. She agreed with Bed­narek that Hen­on’s money was the dif­fer­ence.

“He raised sev­en hun­dred grand,” Kra­jew­ski said of Hen­on. “That’s tough to beat.”

The 200 vo­lun­teers who wore red T-shirts fea­tur­ing his bal­lot No. 191 im­posed on a bas­ket­ball buoyed Bed­narek, who has three grown daugh­ters. He knows many of them from sports and oth­ers from Wash­ing­ton Sav­ings As­so­ci­ation, where he is CEO.

The first-time can­did­ate said he was dis­ap­poin­ted but not up­set with the out­come. He has no re­grets.

“I gave it a shot. If you don’t take a shot, you can’t make a bas­ket,” he said, re­peat­ing ad­vice giv­en to the young people he coaches.

Bed­narek called Hen­on to con­cede, then spoke to his sup­port­ers at about 9:45 p.m.

The los­ing can­did­ate re­called the threat­en­ing tele­phone mes­sage he re­ceived early in the cam­paign, warn­ing him to get out of the race. Au­thor­it­ies have not charged any­one in the case. He also spoke of los­ing the sup­port of three ward lead­ers, but thanked Kra­jew­ski, Tartagli­one and his wife for stay­ing by his side.

“I’d go to battle with these three ward lead­ers any time,” he said.

Bed­narek, who also served stints on the former Board of Edu­ca­tion and the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment, will re­turn to his bank­ing job and will even­tu­ally be back on the side­line as a coach.

Look­ing ahead, he wants to stay act­ive in pub­lic ser­vice, say­ing he be­lieves in the city. He is proud of the cam­paign he ran.

“I tried to give people a choice,” he said.

Stew­art, the Re­pub­lic­an, will also give voters a choice. Hen­on plans to stay act­ive on the cam­paign trail.

“It feels great, but I have a lot to do,” he said of the gen­er­al elec­tion cam­paign. “It will be a dif­fer­ent fo­cus.”

Dur­ing the primary, Bed­narek stressed that Hen­on would be con­trolled in of­fice by John Dougherty, a South Phil­adelphia ward lead­er and the power­ful head of the elec­tri­cians uni­on.

Dougherty re­futed the ac­cus­a­tion. He at­ten­ded Hen­on’s vic­tory party and ex­pects him to de­feat Stew­art.

“He’s go­ing to be good for the North­east,” Dougherty said.

Dan Mc­Caf­fery, a Delaire Land­ing res­id­ent and likely can­did­ate for state at­tor­ney gen­er­al next year, served as Hen­on’s cam­paign treas­urer. He called Bed­narek a “great guy,” but said the cam­paign con­trib­ut­ors and voters saw something spe­cial in Hen­on.

“People re­cog­nized Bobby as someone who’ll provide en­er­get­ic, new lead­er­ship for the North­east,” he said. “Bobby Hen­on will be an ex­cel­lent coun­cil­man.”

Hen­on, who eas­ily won all nine wards, re­peated his pledge to open a dis­trict of­fice and to be the hard­est-work­ing coun­cil­man in the city.

“I made some cam­paign prom­ises, and I have to de­liv­er,” he said. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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