Rebecca Rhynhart resigned from her position as the Philadelphia City Controller on Tuesday and launched her campaign for Philadelphia mayor.
Rhynhart has spent the last five years as the city controller, where she audited the city government and made economic and public-safety recommendations, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. She seeks to take over the position of current mayor Jim Kenney — who is unable to run again due to his term limit — and to become the first female mayor of Philadelphia.
Rhynhart announced the start of her campaign in a news conference at West Philadelphia’s Nichols Park, where there have been 15 shootings and eight homicides this year, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Rhynhart chose to launch her campaign at Nichols Park to emphasize the city’s gun violence crisis and underscore her campaign’s focus on fixing it.
Crime has been a topic frequently discussed in this election, with a two-year spike in shootings sparking conversation, according to the Inquirer. Rhynhart will also focus her campaign on the city’s prison system and city services ranging from public safety to trash pickup.
Rhynhart now joins as many as six other contenders to become the next mayor of Philadelphia. The field includes Cherelle Parker, Derek Green, and Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who also resigned from their posts, due to Philadelphia’s charter mandate of resignation to seek higher office. Several members of City Council are also in the mayoral race.
Rhynhart has clashed with Kenney throughout her time in office as city controller, according to the Inquirer. These disagreements included his response to gun violence, the identification of hundreds of millions of dollars in bookkeeping errors and accounting processes of the city, and his response to unrest after George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis.
Rhynhart, who worked on Wall Street for much of her early career, was considered a political outsider in her 2017 and 2021 election wins for City Controller. Now, she has developed connections with donors, fund-raisers, and other elected officials to self-fund her campaign, the Inquirer reported.
Rhynhart felt that she could make a difference as the mayor of Philadelphia. “I spent the last five years from the outside saying, ‘This is what’s wrong, and this is how to fix it,’” she told the Inquirer. “I can take all that and hit the ground running.”