Controller-elect announces tech-heavy transition team

A week after Rebecca Rhynhart secured the City Controller seat with 82 percent of the vote — on a platform of transparency, tech and modernization — the former Chief Administrative Officer has announced the team that will over see the transition.

Led by Kellan White, Rhynhart’s former campaign manager, the team will be chaired by a team of three: Brigitte Daniel, Executive Vice President of Wilco Electronics Systems and founder of MoguletteRichard Vague, Managing Partner of Gabriel Investments; and attorney Heather Steinmiller, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for consulting firm Conner Strong & Buckelew.

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Will Krasner and Rhynhart usher in new blood for Philly Democrats?

Standing before a sea of supporters on election night, District Attorney-elect Larry Krasner called his election a “movement.” Just a few blocks away in Center City, Controller-elect Rebecca Rhynhart was telling her fans this was the start of something bigger.

“This is just the beginning,” said the 43-year-old Democrat. “We are going to lead a quiet and peaceful revolution in Philadelphia’s political establishment.”

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Philadelphia's new controller puts tech in the spotlight

Philadelphia city government could soon see some new technology initiatives coming from an unexpected place.

Rebecca Rhynhart easily won the city's controller election Tuesday over Republican Mike Tomlinson to become Philadelphia's first female controller on Tuesday. 

Rhynhart, a Democrat who was formerly the city' treasurer and later its budget director, also spent most of 2016 serving a prominent role in the city's technology policymaking from her position as the chief administrative officer (CAO).

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Voters voted for change

In the city controller’s race, voters also sought change, as Democrat Rebecca Rhynhart defeated Republican Mike Tomlinson. Prior to winning the general election Tuesday, Rhynhart, a political newcomer, upset three-time incumbent Alan Butkovitz in the May primary.

The city controller’s office has been held by Democratic insiders for years.

In her victory speech, Rhynhart signaled a change.

“This is just the beginning. We are going to lead a quiet and peaceful revolution in Philadelphia’s political establishment,” Rhynhart told a cheering crowd.

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Voters Select Rebecca Rhynhart As Philly’s Next Controller

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Voters in Philadelphia have selected Democrat Rebecca Rhynhart as the city’s next controller.

With 97.86 percent of precincts reporting, Rhynhart (158, 424 votes) has beat out Republican candidate Michael Tomlinson (32,922 votes) on Tuesday night.

Rhynhart, 43, a native of Abington, left a job in finance to return to the city and work for the Nutter administration, first as treasurer, then as budget director.


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Off-year election sees PA Democrats make big gains

A day that saw spitting rain in Philadelphia and flurries in Harrisburg could not keep voters away from the polls in the 2017 General Election. Turnout was strong for an off-year Election Day that saw a slew of victories for state and local Democrats running in races one year after the election of Republican President Donald Trump.

Democrats were looking to build morale and momentum ahead of a hoped-for wave election in 2018 – and voters delivered in Pennsylvania, as well as in states like New Jersey and Virginia. Here’s a look at some of the top elections across the commonwealth:

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After the 2017 primary election, there was a weird, and frankly pretty sexist, line of commentary out there that said Rebecca Rhynhart's blowout primary win over four-term incumbent Controller Alan Butkovitz was really due to Larry Krasner's coattails despite Rhynhart winning more votes than Krasner.

Larry Krasner's District Attorney campaign, of course, generated a lot of organic excitement both locally and nationally. But Rhynhart's campaign also had a lot of buzz on its own, especially among women who were eager to vote some more qualified women into office after the 2016 Presidential election outcome. 

While it was definitely true that the existence of two competitive primaries at the top of the ticket had a synergistic effect on voter interest and turnout, in the end, Rhynhart won more wards and more votes, and it would be pretty odd to say that someone who received more votes rode in on the coattails of someone who received fewer. 


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Rebecca Rhynhart, government insider and political novice, wins City Controller race


Rebecca Rhynhart, a top appointed official in two mayoral administrations with no previous experience as a political candidate, won election as city controller Tuesday, giving her a powerful platform to influence Philadelphia’s fiscal management.

Rhynhart, a Democrat, was leading Republican Mike Tomlinson by a better than 4-1 ratio when the Associated Press called her the winner at about 9:15 p.m.

“This is just the beginning. We are going to lead a quiet and peaceful revolution in Philadelphia’s political establishment,”  Rhynhart told cheering supporters in a back room of the Continental Midtown Restaurant.

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Rebecca Rhynhart won. Here’s her plan to bring tech into the Controller’s office


With a little help from Philly tech scenesters back in May, former Chief Administrative Officer Rebecca Rhynhart scored the Democratic Party’s nomination for the Controller’s Office, unseating incumbent Alan Butkovitz in a move that Philly Mag called a sign of the Democratic machine’s waning power.

But the job wasn’t done for Rhynhart, 43, who served as city treasurer under Mayor Michael Nutter before joining the Kenney administration: she still had to win the thing. And last night, with a whopping 82 percent of the vote, the Democratic beat out Republican nominee Michael Tomlinson and became the first woman to be elected to the Controller’s office.

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Will tech's candidate Rebecca Rhynhart challenge Philly's powerful?

It's not just "her sophisticated financial knowledge," which marks a big change from what has in the past been a job for ward leaders, Vague told me.

It's the "inspiring, Frank Capra-esque way" that Rhynhart shows "she cares about the city. A rare combination, in my experience." Capra directed It's a Wonderful Life and other films about solid citizens who challenged corrupt elites and made life better for others. 

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This is how Rebecca Rhynhart plans to bring tech to the City Controller’s office

“I’m a strong believer in open government, transparency and modernization,” Rhynhart told “What I want to accomplish is very tied into what the tech community feels is important. That formed the basis of our relationship. My message to them is that I’ll be a strong partner and ally. I will be an advocate for modernization, data, and serve residents in a better way.”

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As the news media and political observers have started parsing this week's electoral surprises, particularly in the Democratic Controller primary, an unfortunate narrative has begun to emerge in some quarters--originating with comments from Controller Alan Butkovitz on WHYY--that Rebecca Rhynhart was swept to victory on the coattails of D.A. primary winner Larry Krasner. It's worth putting this idea to bed quickly, as it's not only sexist, but totally wrong. 

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EDITORIAL: Two New Faces Win the Day

With her win, Democratic nominee Rebecca Rhynhart has the opportunity to make good on her campaign pledges to be a more aggressive, fearless financial watchdog who will make city government work better and more efficiently for Philadelphia citizens and businesses. We have no doubt that her background both in Wall Street and in the upper echelons of city government will serve her – and the city – well.

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