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Former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham and State Senator Anthony Williams recently declared their candidacy for mayor of Philadelphia on Nov. 19 and Nov. 20 respectively. 

Education reform. Energy policy. Gentrification. Crime. Taxes. Philadelphia will face a range of pressing issues in 2015, and a new mayor will be at the forefront of it all. 

As Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter nears the end of his second and last term in office, a wide-open array of candidates have declared their candidacy for the mayoral primary on May 19.

In the Democratic primary, which will almost assuredly decide the mayor, no clear frontrunner has emerged in a diverse field of candidates. 

While some potential candidates have yet to declare — such as City Councilman Jim Kenney — three fairly prominent candidates are vying for an early lead: State Sen. Anthony Williams, former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham and former Philadelphia City Solicitor Ken Trujillo.  

Anthony Hardy Williams:

State Sen. Anthony Williams, seen by many as perhaps the strongest candidate because of his current political network, has campaigned heavily on education reform and gun control.  

Williams’ strong support of charter schools and school voucher programs separates him from the rest of the Democratic candidates. “Anthony is a nationally recognized advocate for public charter schools,” Williams’ campaign website reads. “He is the architect and sponsor of Pennsylvania’s landmark public charter school legislation, and a leading voice for charter school accountability in Philadelphia.”

Although Williams has an experienced background in politics, much of his political experience comes from Harrisburg and not from Philadelphia, which could become problematic. However, Williams also remains the most prominent black person still in the race, which is important in a city with a black majority. 

Lynne Abraham:

Former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, who has touted her experience and leadership in Philadelphia government, has garnered a lot of attention as a surprise contender. 

So far, Abraham has consistently made education and crime her main topics of focus. 

“As the longest serving District Attorney in recent Philadelphia history and the only woman, I led one of the largest law offices in the City,” Abrahams said in an email. “I prosecuted hardened criminals and initiated efforts to address domestic violence, child abuse and rape. 

“We are in the process of reaching out to — and collaborating with — the best and brightest in education,” she added. “We want expertise from people who are experienced in education from different perspectives in order to fashion a thoughtful and thorough approach to meeting and solving the many challenges in education.”

If elected, Abraham would make history by being Philadelphia’s first female mayor. 

Ken Trujillo:

Not all of the candidates have a long history in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania politics. 

Ken Trujillo, Penn Law adjunct professor and former assistant U.S. attorney, is the long-shot candidate. But with no candidate possessing a significant lead, Trujillo remains a true contender. 

 “The people know that career politicians and bureaucrats will not change the status quo any time soon,” Trujillo said in an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian in September, right after he declared his candidacy. “However, my career is about taking risks and using innovations. I am not afraid to try new things.”

Other lesser-known candidates — such as former Philadelphia City Solicitor Nelson Diaz and former Press Secretary under Mayor Nutter, Doug Oliver — also remain viable contenders. 

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