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Who is David Oh?

Who is David Oh?

The former At-Large City Councilmember is the Republican candidate for Mayor of Philadelphia

Republican David Oh served for three terms as an At-Large member of Philadelphia City Council before resigning from Council to join the Mayor’s race in February 2023. The only Republican on the ballot for mayor easily made it past the May 16 primary to win a spot on the general election ballot.

Oh grew up in Southwest Philadelphia, graduated from Rutgers University Law School, and joined City service as an assistant to Philadelphia District Attorney (1985 to 1988) under DAs Ed Rendell and Ronald Castille.

From 1989 until 1992 he served in the Army National Guard before returning to Philly to open a law firm. During that time, he made two unsuccessful runs for City Council. Then, in 2012, he had success, becoming the first Asian (Korean) American to join the body. On Council he chaired the Global Opportunities and Creative Innovative Economy Committees. The 62-year-old father of four lives with his family in the Cobbs Creek section of Southwest Philadelphia.

The former Councilmember told the Committee of Seventy that his highest priorities, should he become the first Republican to take City Hall’s top job in 70 years, are to “make Philadelphia safe, create good jobs and provide quality schools in every neighborhood.” He has also proclaimed himself a law and order candidate, recently declaring policing as the best deterrent to crime. In addition, he told the Citizen the best crime preventer was good schools.

Here’s what else we know about David Oh

  1. HE CREATED A VETERANS TAX CREDIT for employers who hire returning
    David Oh, Republican candidate for Mayor of Philadelphia.

    veterans, authored a bill to increase women’s breastfeeding rights in the workplace, and helped wrangle more money for firefighters.

  2. HIS LEGISLATIVE SUCCESS HAS BEEN LIMITED. For example, some of Oh’s most significant bills  — auditing the Philadelphia Parking Authority, lowering taxes, eliminating the soda tax, and restricting … Covid restrictions — all languished without a vote from the whole body.
  3. JUST BEFORE RESIGNING, CITY COUNCIL REJECTED Oh’s bill to create “minimum force training” for PPD because: 1. It linked police reform to rising crime 2. Council does not have authority to make changes to the Philadelphia Police Department.
  4. HE BLAMES EDUCATIONAL INEQUITIES ON politics and contracts and unions and vendors.”
  5. HE HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF COMMANDEERING COUNCIL for hearings related to issues he himself is facing — as when he put the City’s child welfare system under inspection after he was falsely accused of child abuse when his son was injured in a martial arts lesson.
  7. HOWEVER,  IN 2011, HE EXTENSIVELY EMBELLISHED HIS MILITARY RECORD in his campaign for Council, saying he’d been an officer in an Army Special Forces Unit and a Green Beret.
  8. IN 2017, HE WAS ROBBED AND STABBED outside his Southwest Philly home. The man he accused was acquitted in 2018.

Endorsements of David Oh

Ron Castille. Former Chief Justice of the PA Supreme Court and former Philadelphia District Attorney.

Log Cabin Republicans. A group of activist LGBT Republicans.

Tom Ridge. Former Governor of Pennsylvania, former United States Secretary of Homeland Security, and current CEO of Ridge Global, a cybersecurity, international security and risk management firm.

 Republican City Committee.

Press coverage of David Oh

More ways to learn about David Oh

From David Oh’s campaign website.

From Oh’s social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

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The Philadelphia Citizen updates this profile and all of our Philadelphia mayoral candidate profiles on a regular basis.


Every Voice, Every Vote is a collaborative project managed by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Lead support is provided by the William Penn Foundation with additional funding from The Lenfest Institute, the Wyncote Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, among others. To learn more about the project and view a full list of supporters, visit Editorial content is created independently of the project’s donors.

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