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On Wednesday afternoon, former City Councilman Jim Kenney staked his claim to be the next mayor of Philadelphia.

In a speech at the Mayor’s Reception Room at City Hall, Kenney officially announced his campaign. Since he quit his position at the City Council last Thursday, Kenney’s presumptive campaign has thrown a wrench into the mayoral election.

His outspoken positions in favor of LGBT equality and marijuana decriminalization have made him some early allies in the race. However, Philadelphia Magazine reported that, despite praise from his former colleagues at his resignation last week, only one fellow councilman, Mark Squilla, attended Kenney’s announcement on Wednesday.

Kenney was vague on his plan for Philadelphia schools, a hot-button issue in the election, but spoke out in favor of “high-quality pre-kindergarten for every kid in the city.” Assisting the underprivileged was a theme in Kenney’s address. He also spoke about “inclusivity,” including the importance of helping the “immigrants, working poor and the marginalized.”

With the candidates’ finance reports released earlier this week, Kenney finished close to last in available funds. His measly $77,000 on hand places him behind his fellow candidates: state Sen. Anthony H. Williams, former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, and former City Solicitor Nelson Diaz. Kenney only leads the recently entered Doug Oliver and fringe candidate Milton Street in funds raised.

However, some of former candidate Ken Trujillo's key staffers, including his spokeswoman Lauren Hitt, now work for Kenney. Some have speculated that this shift in allegiance implies that Trujillo might make a donation to Kenney's campaign in the future, though no donation has been made yet.

With the election firmly underway, Kenney will likely challenge hardliner Lynne Abraham on marijuana decriminalization and attack Doug Oliver for his controversial advertisements while employed at Philadelphia Gas Works.

Meanwhile, the horse race for Philadelphia’s next mayor marches on. 

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