Philadelphia projected to elect 1st female mayor with Cherelle Parker

Parker, a Democrat, is a former teacher.

November 7, 2023, 11:23 PM

In Houston and Philadelphia, two of the country's largest cities, voters on Tuesday cast ballots for their next mayors.

In the Philadelphia mayoral race, ABC News projects that Democrat Cherelle Parker will win and become the city's first female leader and its 100th mayor.

Parker is a former member of the Philadelphia City Council, former state legislator and former teacher.

During her campaign, Parker spoke about public safety, education and economic issues, and she received endorsements from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Philadelphia mayoral candidate Cherelle Parker speaks to the media with her high school English teacher Janette Jimenez by her side in Philadelphia, Nov. 7, 2023.
Ryan Collerd/AP

In remarks to supporters on Tuesday night, Parker said there was important work ahead -- which is what she campaigned on.

"My message to Philadelphians from all walks of life was that if they would just give me the opportunity, that I would put to great use everything inside of me, my lived life experience, my professional experience, my academic preparation -- that I will put all of it to great use to work with you all to make Philadelphia the safest, cleanest, greenest big city in the nation, with economic opportunity for all," she said.

Parker's Republican opponent, David Oh, an attorney and at-large city council member, had aimed to become the city’s first Asian American mayor. He ran on lowering Philadelphia’s crime rate, including hiring a surge of police officers and addressing drug use.

Philadelphia mayoral candidate David Oh meets with voters at a poling place in Philadelphia, Nov. 7, 2023.
Matt Rourke/AP

Across the country, 18 candidates ran in Houston’s nonpartisan mayoral election.

Sheila Jackson Lee and John Whitmire will advance to a runoff on Dec. 9, ABC News projects.

Jackson Lee, who currently represents Texas's U.S. 18th District, was one of the highest-profile candidates in the race.

Her House seat includes some of Houston. Currently in her 15th term, she is the Democratic chief deputy whip and sits on the Budget, Judiciary and Homeland Security committees.

Houston mayoral candidate Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee talks during her campaign event, Oct. 27, 2023, in Houston.
Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

Jackson Lee garnered endorsements from a few big-name political figures, including Hilary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.

Her highest-profile opponent in the mayoral race was Whitmire, the longest-serving current Texas state senator.

Texas State Senator John Whitmire speaks during the M-K-T Bridge reopening ceremony along the Heights Hike and Bike Trail, May 27, 2022, in Houston.
Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

Whitmire assumed office in 1983 and is the dean of the Texas Senate. Known as a more conservative Democrat, on the trail, Whitmire touted his bipartisan efforts in his decadeslong career in public office.

Jackson Lee faced some controversy over a leaked audio recording where she berated a staff member. ABC News has not independently verified the audio recording.

She apologized for what she said but also alleged in a recent debate that the recording was leaked by "a Whitmire operative." Whitmire denied the claim.

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