Mt. Airy resident Nina Ahmad wins at-large seat on city council

by Tom Beck
Posted 5/17/23

“First, I want to say thank you to everyone who helped me get here,” Ahmad told the Local.

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Mt. Airy resident Nina Ahmad wins at-large seat on city council


The Associated Press declared Mt. Airy resident Nina Ahmad one of four winners so far in the Democratic primary for the city’s at-large city council race. She has received the fourth most votes after incumbents Isaiah Thomas, Katherine Gilmore Richardson and newcomer Rue Landau, who will become the city’s first openly gay city council member. The top five advance to the general election in November.

“First, I want to say thank you to everyone who helped me get here,” Ahmad, who is slated to become the first South Asian to serve in Philadelphia City Council, told the Local on Tuesday morning. “I could not have done this without a broad coalition of Philadelphians – union members, progressives, and just everyday people – who came out, from all over the city, to help and support me.”

The AP previously called the race for the top three vote-getters in the council at-large race: Thomas, Gilmore Richardson and Landau. Incumbent Jim Harrity is currently in fifth place.

The Democratic City Committee endorsed Thomas, Gilmore Richardson, Landau and Harrity. It recommended Ahmad.

Chestnut Hill resident Eryn Santamoor is about 4,500 votes behind in sixth place. 

With many former council members having resigned to make their Mayoral bid, Ahmad said, she expects the new city council to be very different from the last. 

“We are going to have a number of people on council who don’t have a lot of experience, so we will all have to really work together,” she said. “I think that the folks who are on council now are reasonable, and understand that you can’t get your own way 100% of the time. They’re workhorses, not necessarily show horses.”

She hopes the next council president, whoever it ends up being, “will create an environment where we can all work collaboratively,” she said. “Everyone will have specific issues that they are passionate about, of course, but I think we can all collectively agree that we need to work together to move the city forward – and finally take it off the list as being the nation’s poorest large city.”

Ahmad, who has run two unsuccessful statewide campaigns, said those campaigns gave her a particular insight into statewide politics. 

“I intend to work on transforming Philadelphia’s image – to change not just how it is viewed by the nation, but also by the rest of Pennsylvania,” she said. “In my time working as a statewide candidate, I found out how devalued Philadelphia is by people outside the city – even though we drive the economy of the state.”

Ahmad said she looks forward to working with Parker, a former State Representative who she thinks will be able to use her Harrisburg experience to deliver more state funding for city schools. 

“Cherelle has really focused on building the middle class, and I think we need to continue to do that,” Ahmad said.