Lynne Abraham Says “I’m Just Going to Charge and Surge”

The Brief: Thursday's poll release seemed designed to ensure wary donors she's a major force in the race who would never consider dropping out.

Lynne Abraham Running For Mayor of Philadelphia

Thursday was a little weird for Lynne Abraham.

On the one hand, she released an internal poll that claims she has a big lead in the mayoral race: 30 points for Abraham, compared to 14 points each for Jim Kenney and Anthony Williams, with the other candidates all in the single digits. True, the poll sampled just 500 registered voters and had a high margin of error, a fact quickly pointed out by Abraham foes. But the poll did underscore a fact that has been overshadowed by the flurry of endorsements and media coverage Williams and Kenney have received recently: Abraham is far and away the best-known candidate in this race.

On the other hand, the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization of Women dealt Abraham’s campaign a stinging rebuke, endorsing Jim Kenney on Thursday and not her. Abraham is pretty inarguably one of the most trailblazing woman in the history of Philadelphia electoral politics, and clearly Philadelphia’s most serious female mayoral candidate yet. Considering those bonafides, not winning NOW’s endorsement is a pretty big deal, and Abraham was clearly upset by the decision (we’ll have more on that story later today).

But this has sort of been the story of Abraham’s campaign so far: despite that outstanding name recognition in a field of lesser-known candidates, a lot of political insiders seem to think her lead will evaporate once the campaign gets going in earnest. That suspicion has probably contributed to a shortage of endorsements, as well, it seems, to some fundraising challenges.

Abraham hopes to change the narrative around her candidacy with the new poll. “I think it’s very encouraging,” she said. “I think victory is within our reach but not yet in our grasp.”

Abraham said she would release a series of policy papers “very shortly” (her campaign has produced none so far). She brushed aside questions about the advantages of her rivals—in SuperPAC cash, in union backing, in endorsements—by noting that Democratic Party Chairman Bob Brady and self-financed millionaire Tom Knox were bested by Michael Nutter. “Money and union support doesn’t guarantee victory,” she said.

She also directly (and indirectly, through her release of the internal poll) addressed persistent but dubiously-sourced rumors that she may drop out of the race. “There is some scuttlebutt around that somebody from the opposition has been dropping rumors that I’m dropping out, but nothing could move me to withdraw from this race. Period. I may have my faults and I’ll admit that. But when I enter something I’m all in, and I think that’s part of my character. And that’s a quality that people admire. They know I’m strong and resolute, and I’m just going to charge and surge.”

For the record, we asked Abraham to release the full methodology behind her internal poll, but she declined. “You can ask Kenney and Williams to release their polls and then we’ll think about it,” she said.

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