‘Don’t be afraid to lose’: David Oh concedes to Cherelle Parker in Philly mayor’s race

Philadelphia’s Republican mayoral candidate David Oh has conceded.

The former City Councilmember, who resigned to run for mayor during his third term, congratulated Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker and thanked supporters and family for having a “better vision” for the city.

Parker creates history as the first Black woman to win the city’s top post.

“Don’t be afraid to lose,” Oh said. ‘Be afraid not to try.”

By 11:30 p.m., 87% of the votes had been counted. Parker won more than 74% of the vote, with Oh trailing at close to 26%.

No Republican has won the race for mayor in Philadelphia in more than seven decades. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the city nearly 7-to-1 — a ratio that Oh beat.

Philadelphia mayoral candidate David Oh asks supporters to relax and enjoy the campaign watch party as election results come in at the Emperor Restaurant in the Northeast on Election Day, November 7, 2023. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

During his small election night watch party at a restaurant in Northeast Philly, Oh, at first, delayed conceding.

“We can never know until a certain period of time,” he told a room of a few dozen supporters. “Enjoy yourselves and let’s celebrate our time together. This is a great friendship that we have across the city — so many diverse groups of people.”

Oh, a former prosecutor, member of the Army National Guard, and lawyer from Southwest Philly, is not considered a typical Republican. During his political career, he has clashed with the Philly GOP party establishment, including when he unsuccessfully pushed for an audit of the Philadelphia Parking Authority and supported a Republican council candidate who criticized party leaders.

Oh made a point to build support among various constituencies, including Philly’s immigrant communities. In the days leading up to the election, he sat down for interviews with Spanish- and Russian-language media and marched in a veterans’ parade.

“I make it a point to speak to every community in our city,” he wrote on social media Sunday. “As Mayor, I will ensure that every community has a seat at the table.”

Oh was the first Asian American elected to Philadelphia City Council in 2011, and would have been the city’s first Asian American mayor.

  • November 8, 2023
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