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HD-174: Neilson Likely To Skip Primary With Sabatina

Rep. Neilson
Rep. Neilson

Sources say that Rep. Ed Neilson (D-Philadelphia) will be the Democratic nominee for the special election for a Philadelphia City Council seat, avoiding a primary against fellow House incumbent Rep. John Sabatina.

Neilson and Sabatina were merged in redistricting and would have faced each other in the Democratic primary to stay in office, and the new district favored Sabatina, who won his special election in 2006. 53% of the registered Democrats in the newly drawn 174th live in Sabatina’s current district. Neilson won a special election for his seat just last year. Only 25% of Dems in the new district are his current constituents.

Although Neilson has yet to confirm, numerous Philadelphia insiders assured PoliticsPA that he would be the city council nominee. At-large councilman Bill Green was named chair of the School Reform Commission with two years left in his city council term, triggering a special election to be held concurrent with the primary.

“He certainly has the support of a lot of the ward leaders, especially in that district, where he’s fighting with Sabatina,” Representative and Philadelphia City Democratic Party Chairman Bob Brady told Philadelphia Daily News. “I’m always for trying to keep peace. The ward leaders don’t want to see that fight up there.”

Sabatina’s campaign also appears convinced Neilson will withdraw from the House race.

“It appears from press reports that the politics of the situation is moving in that direction,” Sabatina consultant Michael Bronstein told PoliticsPA. “Regardless of the potential political outcome, Rep. Sabatina is focusing on serving the residents of the district and continues to vigorously campaign for reelection.”

West Philadelphia Ward leader Matt Wolfe will likely be the Republican nominee in the special election, and Sabatina will be unopposed in the Democratic primary for House District 174.


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