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Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.

Every Friday from now until the primary (that’s May 19!) we’ll take a look at the past week to update you on who’s up, who’s down and what you absolutely need to know about the election.

It’s been an exciting week in Philadelphia politics as some of the city’s most high-powered pols secured the Democratic National Convention for 2016. But as that major news rocked the city, the mayoral race meandered on. Billy Penn recapped the week for you.

(Want up-to-the-minute updates on the mayor’s race as it evolves? Follow our story, and we’ll send you an email when news happens.)

Stock Watch

Lynne Abraham: 

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It’s been a pretty quiet week for Lynne Abraham except for that her Facebook page got more than 1,000 likes which her people seemed irrationally excited about.

Nelson Diaz: 

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Maybe it was a bit unexpected, but Diaz started mudslinging this week in the form of releasing statements about both Anthony Williams and Jim Kenney. However, Diaz also was the first candidate to express his support for the Committee of 70’s integrity agenda — which gives him some upward mo’.

Jim Kenney: 

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Philadelphia Magazine gave us 5,208 words this week about former Councilman Kenney, and they talked about everything from PGW, to his affiliation with the unions, to his times as a Mummer. Other than allllll that, it’s been a kinda quiet week for Jim Kenney, but I mean, at least the food trucks like him?

Doug Oliver: 

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Is Philadelphia underestimating Doug Oliver? The question’s been asked, and to that we say: Maybe. While 40-year-old Oliver has failed to raise the funds that his opponents have, he has released some of the most substantial policy positions of the pack.

Milton Street: 

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We didn’t think we would be saying this, but T. Milton Street’s stock is actually rising. In addition to finally filing his financial disclosure paperwork and making a public appearance this week, we also learned that he’s got an unlikely ally (?) in 2nd District Council contender Ori Feibush.

Anthony Williams: 

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You would think someone who’s had tons of experience in politics would be better at answering policy-related questions from reporters. Apparently not. Williams gave a pretty terrible interview to Philadelphia Magazine in which Reporter Holly Otterbein tries mightily to get concrete answers out of Williams and he basically dodges most of her questions. If he knows what do about PGW, taxes and education, he’s not saying. In response to questions about where Williams stands, the candidate released a policy paper on education that only stretched to two pages and it was like one page long. Oh and there was that whole PAC thing — it’s been a weird week for Williams. More on that below.

Biggest news

Just after Williams told Philly Mag that he “won’t be bought” because of concerns that he was being supported by charter school-affiliated PACs, Nelson Diaz and Jim Kenney piled on him for that support. Williams has expressed his support for a contribution that the Philadelphia School Partnership has offered to make to the district: $35 million. Kenney says the PSP is backed by charters and billionaires and comes with strings attached, whereas Williams says money is money and the district should take it. And, oh by the way, Williams’ financial disclosures show he already accepted $7,000 in campaign contributions from a PAC associated with the PSP.

Best tweet

Jim Kenney has remarkably *not* been banned from tweeting from his own account!

Still tweeting. I just never felt the need to respond to every guy tweeting from his mother’s basement.

— Jim Kenney (@JimFKenney) February 10, 2015

Who messed up

Yes, like has been said, it’s been a weird week for Tony Williams. In addition to the PAC/ charter schools/ PSP mess, Williams’s campaign also messed up his own resume and put up kinda misleading information about the status of his college degree. D’oh!

Best insult

Nelson Diaz thinks Tony Williams and Jim Kenney are BOTH unethical. Diaz released a statement this week that was basically like: Williams isn’t playing by the rules and Kenney has another job making him one corrupt dude. From Diaz: “In this campaign, we’ve seen Senator Williams find new and creative ways to flout our campaign-finance laws. Meanwhile, Councilman Kenney holds a second job working for a company doing big business with the city, the details of which he refuses to reveal – all while taking city and state pensions to fund his run for office that will potentially allow him to ‘double-dip’ if elected.”


“We were Mexican bandits. I was a corkscrew. I was a raisin.”

Jim Kenney sits down with Philly Mag and talks about, among other things, his time as a Mummer.

Cool story

Technically Philly brings you Mark Headd, Philadelphia’s former Chief Data Officer. Headd tells us why the next mayor has to not only continue with Mayor Nutter’s open data efforts, but double down on them.

What people are pissed about

Corporations: U mad bro? Apparently they are. The Inquirer’s Chris Hepp reports that new Philadelphia campaign laws are working — maybe too well. From Hepp: “Designed to attack the city’s pay-to-play culture, it has all but eliminated the city’s large law firms and corporations – and thousands of partners and directors at those entities – as major financial contributors to city campaigns. Oh, and the candidates and their campaigns aren’t happy either — this means less money they can use to toss around political ads.

“In the process, it has drained a vast pool of ready campaign money once available to candidates and is one reason, some believe, that mayoral candidates are struggling to raise money, as shown by their fund-raising reports for 2014 filed last week.”


Sam Katz for mayor? It’s possible. The former mayoral candidate has switched his political affiliation from Republican to Independent, possibly signaling another run for the mayor’s office. Katz, who has run for mayor three times before and considered it two other times, would likely make a run against the winner of May’s Democratic primary. Only time will tell.

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.