Sam Katz: I’m Not Running for Mayor

That means there's almost no chance of a competitive mayoral race this fall.

By the inimitable @dhm.

By the amazing @dhm

Sam Katz is not running for mayor in the general election, he announced Tuesday.

Why does that matter? It’s much less likely now that Philadelphia will have a competitive mayoral race this fall. That means the winner of the primary election next week — yes, it’s next week — will probably be our next mayor.

Katz, who would have run as an Independent, is a three-time mayoral candidate who came within an inch of beating John Street in the 1999 election.

The lone Republican candidate, on the other hand, is Melissa Murray Bailey, who was a registered Democrat until this January and raised a paltry $4,900 so far in 2015.

It is possible that Bill Green, a member of the School Reform Commission, could run for mayor in the general election. He switched his party registration in March from Democrat to “no affiliation” in order to “leave all the doors open to me for the fall.” But Green said it is ultimately “unlikely” that he will run for mayor (or City Council, for that matter).

Here’s Katz’s full statement on his decision:

For much of the past year, I have given serious consideration to another run for Mayor.

I’ve run three times. I have always wanted to serve as Mayor because I felt strongly that I could and would make an important contribution to the future of my city through my leadership, ideas and through collaborations with others.

However, I have concluded that another run is not right for me today.

In the past I felt a powerful desire to serve in this role.

But to pursue the Mayoralty of Philadelphia demands a burning passion for the job. I had that passion in the past. I recognize the difference today.

It takes much more than a sense of civic commitment and responsibility to mount a campaign, to be electorally successful and to effectively govern a complex and often contentious city.

Today Philadelphia needs a new kind of fearless leadership ready and willing to pursue a very different course.

I am hopeful that a new administration and city council will find ways to work together, not as incrementalists, but by taking bold steps to find solutions to Philadelphia’s problems.

I am fortunate to play many fascinating roles as a public historian documenting on film Philadelphia’s history, as an active contributor to the civic life of the city and region, as someone willing to propose and advocate for policy ideas and as a mentor to a new generation of leaders who will guide our future.

I want to thank everyone who encouraged me to run, who thought that Philadelphia was ready for an independent candidacy — for my candidacy — and who said they would be there to help me if I chose to go again.

I don’t like disappointing people and I especially don’t like disappointing myself.

But I have concluded that this is the right choice for me at this time in my life. This is a difficult and complex.

I hope and believe that I can contribute to Philadelphia’s future outside of elective office. Actually, I am confident I can. Through my website and by speaking out I will continue to make my voice heard.

I love this city and I am hopeful that together we can make important changes to assure that all Philadelphians live, work and prosper in a city that tries to enhance everyone’s opportunities.

Thank you Philadelphia!