Jonathan Saidel Is Thinking About Running for Mayor

Maybe the field isn't as final as it seems.

Jonathan Saidel on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, in Harrisburg.

Jonathan Saidel on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, in Harrisburg.

Since City Council President Darrell Clarke announced this week that he won’t be running for mayor, Jonathan Saidel says he’s been fielding a lot of calls from people asking him to run.

Saidel, a former City Controller, tells us he’s considering it.

“I think the greatest honor in the world is to be the mayor of the home your family has had since they came to this country,” he says. “I think there’s a lot to do and it would be a great way to say, ‘Thank you.'”

In the same breath, though, he says, “I do feel in some ways that it’s passed me by. I’m 64.”

Then Saidel goes on to lay out what sure sounds like a mayoral platform: reorganizing city government, lowering taxes, making the economic climate more viable, fixing the schools.

Send mixed messages much, Mr. Saidel?

“Anytime you run for major office, there’s a dance involved,” he responds.

Saidel was reported to be considering running for mayor as recently as November, but in the last few weeks, the mayoral field has appeared more fixed. That’s partly because city law caps campaign finance contributions on an annual basis, making it harder for any potential candidate who gets in the race now to raise the money needed to compete with those who announced earlier.

Saidel, a longtime labor ally, could likely garner support from some of the same union and business leaders who were urging Clarke to run. That would be more difficult for him to pull off, though, if City Controller Alan Butkovitz or Councilman James Kenney, also labor allies, decided to run for mayor.

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