Franny Rizzo Not Running for Mayor After All

Frank Rizzo Jr

AP | JOSEPH KACZMAREK

Several months ago, Frank Rizzo, the son, submitted to a lie-detector test. He did so to prove that he was running for mayor for legitimate reasons, and not, as some suspected, to benefit State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams. (He would have peeled away votes from a white challenger, the thinking went.) Franny passed the test, I wrote about it, and then nobody heard from him again.

Perhaps we should have also tested him on whether he was really serious about his mayoral bid. Turns out, he wasn’t. Rizzo told me by phone yesterday that he had changed his mind, and will instead run to reclaim his at-large seat in City Council, as a Democrat. (Rizzo had been a Republican his entire career, until losing his 2011 re-election bid.)

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Nutter Says He’s No Lame Duck

Mayor Michael Nutter

Photo | Jeff Fusco

His big policy initiative — the sale of Philadelphia Gas Works — has just failed. His relationship with City Council and its leadership, never a public strength, appears to have hit a new low. And the public’s attention is increasingly focused on 2015’s election to replace him.

So is Mayor Mike Nutter a lame duck? You won’t be surprised to know he rejects the label. KYW reports the mayor’s comments on the topic:
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PGW Exec and Mayoral Aspirant Doug Oliver Endorses a Sale

Doug Oliver, Mayor's Press Secretary. Copyright City of Philadelphia. Photograph by Mitchell Leff.

Doug Oliver, Mayor’s Press Secretary. Copyright City of Philadelphia. Photograph by Mitchell Leff.

Mayoral aspirant Doug Oliver got knocked around a bit a few weeks ago after launching his exploratory committee on account of lacking any discernible agenda or priorities. Well, today Oliver is staking out a clear, detailed position on one of the most controversial political debates of the moment: the fate of PGW.

Oliver’s view is unequivocal: Sell it.
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Dwight Evans Mulls Mayoral Run

State Rep. Dwight Evans

State Rep. Dwight Evans

This was unexpected: State Rep. Dwight Evans says he’s contemplating a run for mayor — his third such race, if he makes it, since 1999.

The Inquirer reports that Evans was encouraged by an October poll showing him running second only to former District Attorney Lynne Abraham — among six likely candidates — in a mayoral matchup.

“I’m having conversations with people to see if there is an avenue to look at in this mayor’s race,” he said. “I’m looking, thinking, seeing what kind of political and financial support there might be.”

“I feel like I am in a pretty good position,” he said. “I still have a long way to go. Where you start is not necessarily where you end up. You just try to put together your message and organization, raise your money, and try to connect with people who think your candidacy has something to offer the city. I think mine would.”

Evans has held his office more than 30 years. He tried running for mayor in 1999 and 2007; Philly Mag profiled him during both runs.

Tony Williams’ Fragile Juggernaut of a Campaign

anthony williams

State Senator Anthony H. Williams launched what looked like a juggernaut of a mayoral campaign last night in a large hall at the visitor’s center on Independence Mall packed with elected officials, fundraisers, lobbyists, operatives and other assorted power players.

With Alan Butkovitz bailing, and City Council President Darrell Clarke still on the sidelines, Williams has become the mayoral front-runner almost by default (though Lynne Abraham’s strong opening yesterday bears watching). When political insiders talk about Williams, they talk about tactical advantages like establishment support, a credible base in West Philly, the prospect of big outside money and, as Dave Davies just put it, “very favorable racial math” as the only high-profile black candidate in the race (so far).

Williams tried yesterday to broaden the case for his candidacy beyond such insidery electoral considerations, pitching himself as a pragmatic problem solver who could shake up the city’s leadership culture and bring opportunity and growth to neighborhoods neglected while Center City has boomed. He also might have mentioned this notion of “one Philadelphia” one or 1,000 times.

“I don’t want to be the mayor for just one part of town. I want to lift up every part of my great city,” Williams said. “I know that we are strongest as a city when every neighborhood is strong, when we truly are one Philadelphia. Say it with me … one Philadelphia. One Philadelphia.”
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Lynne Abraham’s Message: I’m Still Relevant!

Lynne Abraham

Lynne Abraham at the announcement of her mayoral campaign.

You’d think that a trailblazing female politician with nearly 20 years of service as district attorney would command the respect of the political class and punditocracy if she announced a bid for mayor.

And yet, in a lot of quarters, Lynne Abraham’s mayoral aspirations have been met with little more than snickers and wisecracks about her age (if victorious, Abraham would be 74 when sworn-in). It’s been five years since she retired, after all, and her tough-on-crime, death-penalty dealing persona feels like a real mismatch for today’s Philadelphia.

Today’s really-real campaign announcement (there have been, um, multiple announcements) at the Franklin Institute this afternoon seemed carefully designed to dispel the notion that Abraham was no longer relevant. And it actually worked pretty well.

Hundreds of Abraham’s supporters packed a room at the Franklin Institute for the announcement. On the dais, Abraham was vigorous and appealing. She was quite detailed on her plans if elected, seemed reasonably well-versed on the city’s contemporary challenges, such as school funding and the prospect of selling PGW (she did, though, duck a question from Newsworks reporter Holly Otterbein on her feelings about the decriminalization of marijuana).

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