Darrell Clarke Will Not Run For Mayor
UPDATE [4:30 p.m.] : We asked Councilman James Kenney, a possible mayoral candidate, if Council President Darrell Clarke’s announcement this afternoon makes it any more likely that he’ll get into the race. Kenney told us, “I’m available under the right circumstances, but I refuse to start over financially.” Translation: Under city law, Kenney would have to resign from City Council to run for mayor, and he’s unlikely to do so unless he gets a private-sector job to pay the bills during the campaign. Which is what he’s been saying for a while now.
UPDATE [2:15 p.m.] : We also asked City Controller Alan Butkovitz, once (and future?) potential mayoral candidate, how Clarke’s announcement affects his political plans. Could this be his window to get back into a race he was never officially in? Butkovitz’s answer was noncommittal: “I have to take the pulse of the Philadelphia political community and determine how this affects the lay of the land.”
Patrick Kerkstra breaks down why Clarke’s pass matters, and why it doesn’t, on our new blog Citified.
ORIGINAL [12:55 p.m.]: City Council President Darrell L. Clarke just released the following statement:
“It is my intention to seek the Democratic nomination to serve a fifth term as representative of Philadelphia’s 5th Councilmanic District in the May primary election.
I have been honored and inspired by many conversations with neighborhood citizens, business, union and political leaders who asked me to consider running for Mayor, but being Mayor has never been my primary goal.
During my years of public service, it has been my goal to secure opportunities for every resident of the 5th District and the City of Philadelphia. While we have made significant gains, there remains much to be done. In City Council I will stay focused on the important work that stands before us.
Our city has challenges as significant as its opportunities. We can and must strengthen educational opportunities for our children. We need to focus on making every neighborhood a neighborhood of choice. It’s our duty to invest in our infrastructure, creating jobs for today’s workers and tomorrow’s. We must continue to work toward ensuring affordable housing for everyone and making sure all our streets are safe.
Serving on City Council, one of the most substantive and hardworking legislative bodies in our city’s history, is a sincere privilege. We passed legislation making significant investment in our schools. Working together on our income inequality initiative, we lowered the wage tax, introduced paid sick leave, protected homeowners from exploding real estate tax bills, and began the implementation of Council’s workforce housing initiative.
I will be grateful for another opportunity to serve the people of the 5th District and our neighbors throughout Philadelphia.”
Pat Gillespie, head of the Building and Construction Trades Council, says Clarke told him this morning that he is not getting in the race.
“I’m saddened that the guy I thought could do the job decided not to do it,” says Gillespie. “He thinks he can get more accomplished as Council President, and he knows that in order to pursue the mayor’s race, you got to run for it. You can’t walk for it.”
Asked if Clarke will support another candidate for mayor, campaign spokesman Dan Gross said “he’s focused on the Council race.”
More as this develops, and be sure to check Citified for analysis on what this news means.
Previously: Why Johnny Doc Won’t Get to Pick the Mayor