The Brief: Anthony Williams Presses Attack on Jim Kenney, But Is Anybody Listening?

The frontrunner picks up the endorsement of Darrell Clarke while the media focuses on the Amtrak tragedy.

Photos by Jeff Fusco.

Photos by Jeff Fusco.

1. City Council President Darrell Clarke just endorsed Jim Kenney.

The gist: Clarke, who a week ago walked some North Philly sidewalks with Kenney but stopped short of endorsing him, took the plunge today.

Why it matters: Clarke is arguably the most powerful public official in Philadelphia. It’s been clear from the early days of the race that he preferred Kenney, but it’s a little surprising that he chose to officially endorse him. Of course there’s not much risk for Clarke, given the lead Kenney has opened up in the contest. But don’t dismiss Clarke’s endorsement. It matters inasmuch as it 1) Tells you a Mayor Kenney would have a strong relationship with the Council President, at least to start and 2) It increases the odds that Kenney will win large numbers of black votes in Tuesday’s election. Kenney has already won the support of influential black leaders in the Northwest, but Clarke represents a different base of African American voters, one that’s more working class and low income.

2. The Anthony Williams campaign is airing its attack ad on Jim Kenney a lot in these final days of the election.

The gist: Readers report that they are seeing few positive Williams-funded advertisements right now, and a lot of airings of his attack ad on front-runner Jim Kenney.

Why It Matters: Tearing Kenney down is the only chance Williams has right now. The Inquirer/Daily News/NBC 10 poll released yesterday shows Kenney with a gargantuan lead. Williams looks to be in a spot where he needs to not only convince pretty much every undecided voter in the city to support him, but also to convince Kenney supporters to abandon their man. Unfortunately for Williams, his Super PAC ally — the one funded by three wealthy suburban traders — appears to be sticking with positive biographical and issue ads. Those have proven remarkably ineffective so far, despite the millions of dollars that’s been spent on them.

Making matters even worse for Williams — and Lynne Abraham too, for that matter — is the lack of media attention now focused on the mayoral race. The Amtrak disaster is appropriately consuming a lot of oxygen. That’s put the contest into a sort of stasis, right at a time when Williams and Abraham desperately need huge changes in the race’s dynamics.

3. Already, media autopsies of Williams’ campaign have begun.

The gist: Tom Ferrick picks apart the wreckage of the Williams campaign, and concludes that his “laid-back” personality was a bad contrast with Kenney. Also, Ferrick writes, Kenney has excelled at assembling coalitions, while Williams chose to focus on his black base. Last week, Harold Jackson at the Inquirer identified Williams’ decision to run away from his record on school choice as the strategic call that did in his campaign.

Why it matters: Well, usually postmortems wait until the subject is actually officially deceased. Pundits, it seems, have decided the Williams campaign is already dead.