Helen Gym’s Campaign for Philadelphia Mayor and the Future of U.S. Politics

Former Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym in a picture taken in 2020 at a City Council Meeting.

Posted By Jenn

By Scott Kurashige

Philadelphia’s mayoral race is heating up, and Asian American community activists are deeply invested in the fight to be the city’s next political leader. Pennsylvania has been a crucial swing state for recent presidential and congressional elections, and politics in Pennsylvania are increasingly influenced by its growing Asian American electorate, which has doubled since 2016. Although still only 2 percent of Pennsylvania’s voters, Asian Americans are increasingly commanding attention, and organizers assert that their recent 70-80% support for Democratic candidates has proven crucial in hotly-contested political races.

This year, many of Pennsylvania’s progressive Asian American activists – including many who previously worked on campaigns for President Joe Biden and Senator John Fetterman – have turned their attention local. They are throwing their support behind Korean American progressive Helen Gym in Philadelphia’s mayoral race. Twice-elected to the Philadelphia City Council, Gym stepped down last year to announce her candidacy for Philadelphia mayor. She is now a leading candidate in the Democratic mayoral primary, which will be held on Tuesday, May 16 and which usually determines the outcome for mayor in this strongly Democratic city.

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