Ken Trujillo Is Out of the Mayor’s Race

Wow.

Ken Trujillo Campaign Announcement

(Editor’s Note: We’ll be updating this post throughout the day. For our analysis of what Trujillo’s departure means for the race, check out Holly Otterbein’s report.)

[Update, 4:12 p.m.] Lynne Abraham’s campaign has released a statement on Trujillo dropping out of the mayor’s race: “We are very sorry to hear that the reasons for Ken’s withdrawing are family related, and we understand that family comes first. We were looking forward to a spirited, issues-oriented campaign; now we wish Ken and his family the very best.”

[Update, 2:36 p.m.] State Sen. Anthony Williams’ campaign just issued a short statement on Trujillo’s withdrawal from the race. “Ken Trujillo is a good man with a record of public service and a deep commitment to the city of Philadelphia.  Vigorous debate over serious issues benefits the people of Philadelphia and Ken’s energy will be missed. I wish him and his family the best.”

[Update, 1:53 p.m. from Holly Otterbein] Unsurprisingly, political insiders are already gossiping if something other than family matters was was behind Trujillo’s surprise announcement: Was he having a hard time fundraising? Was he forced to drop out of the mayor’s race because a high-profile candidate is planning to jump in?

Lauren Hitt, a spokeswoman for Trujillo, says money was not a concern. She says in the last month, the campaign hired a political director, finance assistant, field director and policy director, and was in the beginning stages of bringing on additional field organizers. 

“He was poised to win a very strong campaign,” she says. “This had nothing to do with fundraising or any other obstacles.”

Then did Trujillo get out because someone big is about to get in? Hitt says simply, “No. It has nothing to do with it. One, I haven’t heard of anyone big getting in, and two, it has nothing to do with his decision.”

[Update, 1:45 p.m. from Holly Otterbein] A source with firsthand knowledge of the personal matter says it involves Trujillo’s family in New Mexico. The source says Trujillo believed he could not fully dedicate himself to the mayor’s race while traveling regularly to the southwest. “There is nothing scandalous and certainly nothing criminal going on here,” the source says. The source says Trujillo is looking to eventually support another mayoral candidate. “He is not at all confident in the current field of candidates. It’s why he got in the race,” the source says. “He’s engaged in conversations about getting the right person in and putting his full financial and other kinds of support behind them.”

[Original, 12:37 p.m.] Ken Trujillo has shockingly just dropped out of the mayor’s race. Here’s his full statement.

“It is with great regret that I announce today I will no longer pursue the office of Mayor of Philadelphia. My wife, daughter and I are greatly saddened by this decision, but there are family matters that require my full attention. I am announcing this now because I believe strongly that we must leave the door open for another candidate to enter this race. Philadelphia needs someone who has the skills and values to put Philadelphia first, and I very much hope voters will have such an option. I am grateful for the extraordinary support I’ve received, and it is my sincerest regret that I will not be able to pursue this campaign to the end.”

No word yet on what those “family matters” are that require Trujillo’s full attention. To call this a surprising development is an understatement. As recently as last Wednesday, when Trujillo sat down for an interview, he seemed intent not just on running, but on winning. Indeed, if anything he seemed blithely confident about his chances.

See our exchange below:

Citified: Let’s talk about for a second here how you might win this thing. There’s been significant speculation that you’ll put some of your own money into this race. Is that something you’re willing to do and to what extent? And then, second, what does the victorious you know Trujillo coalition look like? Is it a lot like Nutter’s coalition? Is there a large number of Latino votes in it? Is it a Center City dominated coalition? What is that mix that electorally puts you over the top in a multi-candidate field?

Trujillo: To the first question, it won’t surprise you that I didn’t get in this thing to place, I didn’t get in this thing to be relevant, I didn’t get in this race to run a good race. I got in this race to win. So what I will tell is we’re going to have all the resources necessary to win, not to compete, to win. And I intend to win. Secondly…

Citified: Your own resources included in that?

Trujillo: Secondly, what we’re going to do… Where all we now? We’re in January right? January of last year, where was Tom Wolf? Two percent. Four months before the New York election, it was going to be Mayor Quinn. Eight years ago people were ready to inaugurate Chaka Fattah. So from my perspective it’s really very, very, clear that we have a campaign for four months and over the course of four months people are going to hear my personal story, they’re going to hear my record of working in poor communities, of working in the business field, of being a business owner, of being a federal prosecutor. That combination o experiences is going to be a compelling story and it’s going to be the story that every Philadelphian is going to hear over and over again. And when they here that story and compare it to the other candidates, I’m confident that I’m going to win.

More to come on this developing story later.