Nikil Saval, the N+1 Candidate

“Winning begets winning and the progressives have turned into a progressive machine that’s completely different from the old Philly machine,” she said. As if to illustrate her point, the powerful union led by Ms. Dicker’s other 2008 opponent, Mr. Dougherty, recently endorsed Mr. Saval’s campaign and contributed $25,000 to his campaign.

“​We were kind of holding our fire,” said Frank Keel, a spokesman for the union, who confirmed the endorsement. “In the last ten days or two weeks it really started to coalesce around Nikil.”

Asked about the union’s endorsement, Mr. Farnese’s campaign manager, Rajah Sandor, said: “Nikil Saval likes to hold himself up as some bastion of integrity, but when it comes down to it, he’s just a typical politician who will toss his moral code out the window for a chance at $25,000 from a political boss.”

Mr. Saval, in response, said that he was a labor candidate and the contribution represented union members’ dues. (Mr. Farnese has also been endorsed by a number of labor unions, including the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.)

Some endorsements have arrived after the campaign dynamics may already have been scrambled by remote voting. Ben Waxman, a former spokesman for the Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner who is friendly with both candidates, said that in normal circumstances, many voters would know little about down-ballot races. But those voting from home might have taken a moment to Google them.

If they did, they might find that earlier this month, Mr. Saval also received an endorsement from Bernie Sanders, giving his campaign new momentum. It’s an indication that Mr. Saval is seen by his allies as working on behalf of a national democratic socialist movement — one formed from a series of groundswells, including Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter — that will push to tax the rich, focus on workers and address climate change, among other priorities.

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