Unofficial results gave Thaddeus Kirkland challenger Stefan Roots 61 percent of the votes to Kirkland’s 22 percent.
City zoning board member Pat Worrell was third, with 17 percent.
There were no Republicans on the ballot.
Chester has faced financial difficulties for decades and has missed police pension payments, forcing state receiver Michael Doweary to be brought in.
He has warned the city could lose its government if the missed pension payments aren’t resolved by the end of the year.
Roots, 62, is a first-term Council member and the director of parks and recreation. He also runs the popular “Chester Matters” blog.
He has pledged “to turn the city around. “Some problems need to be fixed … some relationships need to be mended … some money needs to be found,” he said.
Kirkland said the receiver’s actions “had a lot to do” with his defeat, accusing him of meddling in city politics.
Roots plans to continue working with the receiver’s office, adding, “I will now have a front seat in that relationship.”
Read more about the Chester election in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Chester officials look to Pennsylvania leaders for help in financial crisis.