February 16, 2016
State Rep. Brian Sims is ending his effort to challenge U.S. Congressman Chaka Fatah.
Sims announced the news Tuesday on his Facebook page. He said he wanted to be an advocate in Congress for equality, creating jobs and ending gun violence, but has instead opted to endorse his colleague in Harrisburg also running for the job, State Rep. Dwight Evans.
"Having walked the streets of the District, and spoken to thousands of neighbors and constituents, I now feel that my friend and colleague, Dwight Evans, is best equipped to take our fight for justice to Washington, D.C., and will serve Philadelphia well in Congress," Sims said in his statement.
Sims was among several local politicians, including Ninth Ward Leader Dan Muroff and Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon, to jump at the chance of taking Fattah's seat representing Philadelphia through Pennsylvania's 2nd Congressional District in D.C.
Fattah was hit with federal racketeering charges in July. Among the 29 counts against him and four associates are racketeering conspiracy, bribery and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
He assured supporters dropping out wasn't an easy decision, but as Holly Otterbein of PhillyMag notes, his chances were slim in the first place:
Sims was seen as an underdog with major challenges to overcome. For one thing, he was running for both Congress and the State House at the same time, which some political insiders thought wouldn't play well with voters. For another, the 2nd Congressional District is 58 percent black, and Philadelphians tend to vote along racial lines. A poll commissioned by Evans found that only 6 percent of surveyed voters said they would support Sims.
A recent poll (commissioned by Evans' campaign) found Evans leading Fattah by a margin of 37-21 percentage points. Sims registered a mere 6 percent in that poll.
Despite Fattah’s legal troubles, he has picked up endorsements from several major unions and ward leaders.