Are Jim Kenney and John Dougherty About to Join Forces?

Morning Briefing: At last, real action in the mayoral race.

Councilman Jim Kenney.

Councilman Jim Kenney.

The mayor’s race grew a hell of a lot more interesting over the last 48 hours.

It was all touched off when the subdued but (all presumed) deep-pocketed Ken Trujillo abruptly dropped out of the race around noon on Wednesday, citing “family matters.” Trujillo was an intriguing candidate, but he was a virtual unknown outside the political class. I’d be shocked if he registered above five percent in a poll.

And yet, somehow, Trujillo dropping out has upended the dynamics of the race. In the last two days, mayoral wannabes who seemed to have passed on a run – Sam Katz, Alan Butkovitz, Jim Kenney – started burning up the phone lines, taking meetings with campaign consultants and the vast, vast array of interests out there dissatisfied with the remaining mayoral field (which is basically down to Lynne Abraham and Anthony Williams).

The bet here is that Kenney gets in. It’s looking like labor, bereft of other options, is starting to rally around the long-time at-large city councilman. So too, it seems, is John Dougherty, who told the Inquirer’s Chris Brennan that he was unimpressed with the field and that he considered Kenney a “dark horse” option.

The mind reels. Doc and Kenney have loathed one another for most of their professional lives, having only in recent years declared an awkward truce since former Kenney patron Vince Fumo got sent to jail.

If Kenney gets in, Butkovitz certainly won’t and Katz may choose to pass on the Democratic primary as well. Katz could still run as an Independent in the Fall, depending on who wins the primary and whether Katz and his family feel up the rigors of a fourth mayoral campaign.

But hey. I could be completely wrong. The dynamics of this race are shifting literally by the hour right now, and the sheer tonnage of rumors and wishful thinking (Rendell! Rendell!) now being generated by the city’s political class is staggering.

All of this should–must–be resolved soon. Mayoral candidates can start circulating nominating petitions on Feb. 17.

Don’t Miss

  • Dave Davies interviews mayoral candidate Anthony Williams and Newsworks’ new mayoral blog, Ninetynine, talks to Lynne Abraham. The candidate is considerably more on message this time than in the Citified Q&A of a few weeks ago.
  • Turns out the SRC can’t void the teacher’s contract after all. Tax hikes and spending cuts now loom.
  • House Majority Leader Mike Turzai strongly suggests that the SRC approve some new charter school applications, though one wonders how the board can do so now that it again must live up to the terms of its contract with the teachers.
  • Johnny Doc and labor are kicking Kenney’s tires for a last-minute mayoral run.
  • Council President Darrell Clarke lightly pumps the brakes on his grand plan to restructure city government by May.

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