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Penn Democrats, College Republicans, and Young Democratic Socialists of America made plans and endorsements ahead of Election Day. Credit: Jesse Zhang

Even in an off-year municipal election, three of Penn's political groups shared their preparations, plans, and endorsements ahead of Election Day.

Penn Democrats

Throughout the fall semester, Penn Dems has hosted candidates for office, including Pennsylvania Supreme Court Democratic candidate Daniel McCaffery and four at-large City Council candidates.

“We are really prioritizing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court race, especially with the overturn of Roe v. Wade,” Penn Dems Communications Director and College junior Nicole Giegerich said.

Giegerich added that the election had high stakes because voters needed to ensure the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would continue to protect the right to choose. 

In addition to civic engagement on campus, Giegerich said Penn Dems has also been involved with competitive races in Virginia and Ohio.

Although Penn Dems abstained from making an endorsement in the Philadelphia mayoral primary election, Giegerich said the group recommends 2016 Fels Institute of Government graduate Cherelle Parker to be the city’s next mayor.

In addition, Giegerich said that the organization recommends Democrats Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Isaiah Thomas, and Rue Landau for at-large City Council out of the five Democratic candidates

For the contested at-large City Council race, where two seats are expected to be contested between two Working Families Party candidates and two Republican candidates, Giegerich said that she believes “the Working Families Party more accurately represents Philadelphia’s political views than the Republican Party,” but the club abstained from endorsing Working Families Party candidates.

College Republicans

Penn College Republicans Political Director and College sophomore Peter Kapp wrote in a statement to the DP that College Republicans will be encouraging members to vote together and will circulate a voter guide to help members know which candidates align with the club’s values.

Continuing their recommendation from the mayoral primary, College Republicans is endorsing Republican candidate David Oh in the mayoral race. Kapp said that the club is looking for candidates who “stand up for freedom and uphold our conservative values.”

“Off-year elections are often where the changes that can affect our day-to-day lives occur, and so even though these candidates will not be representing us in Congress, they will be more directly involved in how the city is run, which can impact our safety and our overall experience in Philadelphia,” Kapp wrote in a statement.

Young Democratic Socialists of America

YDSA Director and College senior Macy Stacher told the DP that the organization has “moved away” from primarily focusing on electoral politics and instead is dedicated to the greater justice movement he sees in Philadelphia.

“We generally hope to see the Working Families Party replace Republicans in City Council, but I think we generally have greater optimism about the unprecedented wave of mobilization and demonstrations for Palestinian human rights, labor, and other justice movements across Philadelphia,” Stacher said.

Stacher added that YDSA is not directly endorsing any particular candidates. The chapter had endorsed 1993 College graduate and former City Councilmember Helen Gym in the Democratic primary.

YDSA Director and College senior Taja Mazaj, who is also a DP staffer, said that she is committed to spotlighting Working Families Party candidates and stopping the “suppression” from Philadelphia ward leaders to stop candidates from gaining recognition and getting elected.

“We’re concerned about this censorship and want to make sure that these socialist candidates are getting elected,” Mazaj said.

Mazaj added that local elections like this year's are especially important because council members and statewide judges have “a lot of sway locally” and explained that she wants to ensure Pennsylvania remains a “safe haven for abortion access.”

“Even though we believe the electoral machine isn't really the most productive way to bring about change and to represent the interests of people, it's still important to use these systems while they are in place and make sure that these material benefits are coming about,” Mazaj said.