Republican Sandra Stewart wasn’t surprised that Democrat Bobby Henon cruised to victory last week in the 6th Councilmanic District race.
“I saw the writing on the wall a while ago,” Stewart said.
Stewart, a neighborhood activist from Tacony, was unopposed in the GOP primary. She was one of only two Republicans seeking the nine Democrat-held district seats.
Meanwhile, Henon, political director of the powerful International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, raised a ton of money and secured the endorsements of a majority of ward leaders in handily defeating banker and former School Reform Commission member Marty Bednarek in the primary last May.
Stewart was frustrated that Democratic elected officials would recognize Henon as the next councilman at several non-political events.
A married mother of two young children, she works as an intern at an interior design firm.
Democrats hold a large voter-registration advantage in the district, and Stewart acknowledged that she had thought about dropping out of the race, but said she is no quitter.
“I wanted to win,” she said.
Still, she’s glad the race is over.
Stewart spent most of election night at the United Republican Club, though she did stop by the victory party of City Commissioner-elect Al Schmidt and attended a reception for David Oh, who edged Al Taubenberger for the final at-large Council seat.
Final unofficial results showed Henon capturing 72 percent of the vote, easily winning all nine wards. The district stretches from Port Richmond to Torresdale and includes portions of Oxford Circle, Castor Gardens and Bell’s Corner.
During the day, Stewart read a quote from Henon on philly.com that he would win with 80 percent of the vote.
“He barely beat me 70-30,” she said.
While Stewart isn’t looking forward to another run for office, she would like to join Republican ward leaders in going door to door to register new Republican voters.
As for Henon, she hopes he opens his promised district office along the struggling Torresdale Avenue commercial corridor.
Henon, who rented the Mayfair Diner for his celebration, would like to open an office sometime around Jan. 2, when he’ll take the oath of office.
“I’m going to have one as quickly as I possibly can,” he said.
Henon has already signed a petition in support of Darrell Clarke as the next president of Council, replacing the retiring Anna Verna. During the primary and general elections, Henon vowed not to support Marian Tasco for the presidency because she was seeking re-election despite being enrolled in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan.
Clarke, who has represented the 5th district since 2000, reportedly has commitments from at least nine members, enough to make him president when the new Council convenes.
“I think Darrell’s fair,” Henon said. “He obviously has the experience.”
The outgoing 6th district councilwoman, Joan Krajewski, ran again in 2007 despite being enrolled in DROP. Krajewski, first elected in 1979, declined to seek a ninth four-year term. She initially backed state Rep. Mike McGeehan as her successor, but he decided against running. She backed Bednarek in the primary.
Henon is looking forward to marching in Sunday’s Mayfair-Holmesburg Thanksgiving Parade and hiring office staff.
“I’m looking to assemble my team,” he said.
The councilman-elect is not sure which committee he’ll get to chair, but he wants to focus on issues such as absentee landlords. He’ll also put together a business advisory committee.
At the victory party, Henon was glad to meet passers-by who told him they want him to fight for the Northeast. He plans to stay in contact with constituents, perhaps by holding “Breakfast with Bobby” gatherings.
“I’m very excited. I’m going to be a full-time councilman,” he said. “The district will be well-represented.” ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org