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Pennsylvania Primary Election: Philadelphia Mayoral, Sheriff Contests Among Races To Watch

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Tuesday is the Pennsylvania primary. The Philadelphia mayoral contest is among the races to watch.

Interest in public office is certainly at an all-time high in the City of Philadelphia. Nearly every incumbent in Philly's elected public offices faces a challenge to his or her seat in the May 21 municipal primary.

The Pennsylvania primary election is shaping up to have several interesting and hotly-contested races in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia mayoral primary

Mayor Jim Kenney faces two challengers -- state Sen. Anthony Williams and former City Controller Alan Butkovitz. Both of Kenney's opponents have taken aim at the mayor in light of the city's rising crime rate.

Butkovtiz has proposed using crisis intervention mentors to stem the escalating homicide rate. Meanwhile, Williams, who lost to Kenney four years ago in the mayoral primary, is attacking the mayor on infrastructure, calling out dirty streets and unfilled potholes.

Incumbent Kenney is continuing to tout his record on expanding funding for pre-K education, via the implementation of the so-called soda tax.

Pennsylvania Primary Election: Philadelphia Mayor, Superior Court And Special Elections

Philadelphia City Council

City council, meantime, is seeing its largest at-large field of candidates in 40 years. The crowded field of Democratic candidates is diverse. There are 28 candidates in the race; only five can be nominated for city council at-large seats.

There are just two open at-large seats on city council, making the race one of the more competitive of the primary. Some in the field are activists and LGBTQ advocates, while others have public service experience.

pennsylvania primary election
Credit: CBS3

Philadelphia sheriff

Finally, another race that could prove to be historic in Philadelphia is the race for sheriff. Philly has never elected a woman as sheriff and two African-American women are hoping to change that.

Retired police officer Rochelle Bilal and former corrections officer Malika Rahman are taking on Jewel Williams.

Williams, a seven-year incumbent, has been beleaguered with sexual harassment lawsuits by three women. He has adamantly denied the allegations.

Preacher and former sheriff's office employee Larry King is also running.

Polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. As always, candidates realize that turnout is the key, so many have been out on the campaign trail hoping to get out the vote before the primary.

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