Franny Rizzo Not Running for Mayor After All

Will run for City Council instead.*

Frank Rizzo Jr


Several months ago, Frank Rizzo, the son, submitted to a lie-detector test. He did so to prove that he was running for mayor for legitimate reasons, and not, as some suspected, to benefit State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams. (He would have peeled away votes from a white challenger, the thinking went.) Franny passed the test, I wrote about it, and then nobody heard from him again.

Perhaps we should have also tested him on whether he was really serious about his mayoral bid. Turns out, he wasn’t. Rizzo told me by phone yesterday that he had changed his mind, and will instead run to reclaim his at-large seat in City Council, as a Democrat. (Rizzo had been a Republican his entire career, until losing his 2011 re-election bid.)

“I think I’m going to change some people’s minds about running,” Rizzo told me. (Meaning: Now that he’s in, potential Council candidates will get scared and bow out.) “It’s a job I know well. I did well, and I’d be honored to serve the people of Philly. I’ll work hard and be successful.” To win, Rizzo will have to hope voters no longer begrudge him for the enormous DROP retirement payout he claimed last time he was in office. Especially now that he’s … coming out of his forced retirement.

Among the at-large candidates Rizzo aims to bully out of the race: educator Isaiah Thomas, recently departed Reading Terminal Market GM Paul Steinke, and City Council legacy kid/progressive activist Sherrie Cohen.

*Of course, he could still change his mind about that, too.