PHILADELPHIA — Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter cruised to a second consecutive term in office Tuesday, easily defeating little-known Republican challenger Karen Brown.
Nutter, a 54-year-old former city councilman, was the heavy favorite over Brown, a 52-year-old former high school math teacher and Democrat who switched parties to face Nutter and barely survived a challenge in the May primary.
With more than 40 percent of precincts reporting, Nutter had 50,479 votes, or about 72 percent of the ballots cast. Brown had 16,855 votes, or about 24 percent. Political activist Wali "Diop" Rahman also was on the ballot as an independent and was a distant third.
Brown declined to comment when reached by The Associated Press, and Nutter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Democrats outnumber Republicans by a more than 6-1 ratio in Philadelphia, which hasn't had a Republican mayor in nearly 60 years.
In his re-election bid, the incumbent touted the fact that homicides are down about 18 percent since his election in 2007, a contest that focused largely on reducing crime and corruption. He's also successfully overseen the implementation of single-stream recycling and a 311 information call center, while avoiding drastic cuts to core city services during the recession.
But Brown and others argued Nutter hasn't done enough to reduce violent crime, noting that the numbers were up over last year and that, while progress has been made, it falls short of the goal of a 30 percent to 50 percent reduction in homicides Nutter set at his inauguration. Others criticize Nutter's decision to push property and sales tax increases to balance the budget, along with an abandoned plan to shutter some libraries. -- (AP)