By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In the Philadelphia mayor’s race, the presumptive front-runner — former City Councilman Jim Kenney — has picked up a prize endorsement from City Council President Darrell Clarke.

Council President Clarke is one of the leading African American politicians in Philadelphia. So his decision to endorse Kenney over State Senator Anthony Williams could be crucial in Kenney’s attempt to secure black voters.

Clarke said he’s backing Kenney because of his support for labor, and for neighborhoods:

“When I hear somebody tell me they’re going to be a block-by-block mayor, and they’ve exhibited the willingness to do that, not only now but in years past, it is clear that I need to be with that particularly person.”

Kenney said if elected, he hopes for a good working relationship with Clarke, just as then-Mayor Ed Rendell had with then-Council President John Street 20 years ago:

“I would like to replicate that relationship. And I pledge to work with the Council President, work with the district council members and the people in the at-large positions, to really move the city forward as a team.”

This comes a month after Kenney received the endorsements of two other leading black politicians: state Representative Dwight Evans, and retiring City Councilwoman Marian Tasco.