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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Is Ed Rendell in Ken Trujillo’s Corner?

As the mayoral declaring process works itself out this week, one interesting development: Former Mayor Ed Rendell has hosted a networking event for former City Solicitor Ken Trujillo, one of the growing scrum of candidates for the Democratic nomination.
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Lynne Abraham Declares for Mayor, and the Mummers Played Rocky

Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham just declared her candidacy for mayor. Philly Mag’s Patrick Kerkstra was there and live-tweeted the announcement:

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Mayoral Halfsies: Butkovitz Out (Sort of), Oliver In (Sort of)

Doug Oliver, left. Alan Butkovitz, right.

Doug Oliver, left. Alan Butkovitz, right.

The first real surprise of the mayoral race arrived this week, in the form of the sudden non-withdrawal/withdrawal of candidate/non-candidate Alan Butkovitz. The city controller had never formally declared his intentions, but he’d been assembling a staff and was widely considered one of the more potent candidates in the (admittedly meager) mayoral mix. Now he’s gone, at least for now, and the terrain of the race is considerably changed.

If Butkovitz had entered the race, he likely would have been a well-funded candidate, with a real base in the Northeast and the support of major city political figures. That might not have been enough to secure a win, of course. He certainly would have started the race an underdog to State Senator Anthony Williams, who is emerging as the consensus front-runner. But Butkovitz had a puncher’s chance.

That wasn’t good enough for him, apparently. He told the Inquirer yesterday, “Based on the conditions on the ground right now and the confusion and chaos of the current field right now, I don’t see a path to winning.”

What confusion and chaos is he referring to? Principally the agonizing indecision of Darrell L. Clarke. Butkovitz seems to think Clarke will run. But there’s been no clear signal on that score from Clarke whatsoever.

As one Democratic consultant put it, “Clarke’s sole campaign staffer is representing Philly Jesus right now.”

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Doug Oliver, Former Nutter Aide, Considers Mayoral Run

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.

Doug Oliver, who served as Mayor Michael Nutter’s spokesman at the beginning of his first term, will launch an exploratory committee today — called “DO2015″ — to decide whether he should make his own run for mayor.

The official announcement at 10:30 a.m. in The Bellvue Hotel.
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Alan Butkovitz Won’t Run for Mayor

Alan Butkovitz

Alan Butkovitz. Photo: Cbrblessing

The Daily News reports that Alan Butkovitz, the city controller, will not be running for mayor. Butkovitz hadn’t announced a campaign, but he’d long been thought a likely candidate. Indeed, he’d been considered a leading candidate. Butkovitz had started to assemble a campaign staff, even hiring a former consultant to Joe Biden in April in anticipation of the expected run.
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