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.
Guys, I know you’re all suuuuper pumped about the upcoming Democratic mayoral primary. But seriously, at least the crew have been game for all the balls in coffee cans, elitism and fat people they’ve endured over the past seven days. Here’s a recap of the week in the mayoral race.
(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.)
Gotta hand it to Lynne, she’s sticking with her voter base and going after it hard. At Thursday night’s Better Mobility bike forum, despite the room being filled with millennials, she stuck to issues relevant to senior citizens, like bus drivers pulling up closer to the curb. She also though a new bike lane on JFK would be a bad idea because retirees. Abraham gets a side arrow today — she’s sticking to her people, but those people aren’t our people.
Judge Nelson Diaz has made it clear he’s hanging his hat on education, and is really the only candidate to take a fierce stand against the SRC — he’s vowed that he’d push to abolish it immediately if elected. This week, Diaz released a detailed education plan that would establish a local school board and university pre-Kindergarten. Some of the major details of his plan, according to the Inquirer: Raise the city’s commercial real estate tax rates, improve the return on the city’s pension fund investments, collect delinquent taxes and expand liquor sales hours. If you’re scratching your head thinking that Diaz doesn’t have sole control over all these things, you’d be right.
Former councilman Kenney had quite a week, securing endorsements from three major unions: the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the Fraternal Order of Police and the huge union AFL-CIO. Kenney has quickly established himself as the union pick and the big labor advocate, which could put a dent in Anthony Williams’ voter base.
Doug Oliver spent the week calling cyclists elitist (more on that later) and canvassing for votes on SEPTA. And no one can say Dougie O. isn’t trying to get out the vote. He will *literally* come to your house if you want him to.
Is Milton Street the Democratic candidate for Philadelphia mayor really a registered Independent who lives in New Jersey? That’s the legal challenge filed by Joseph Coccio Jr., a leader of a SEPTA union that has — surprise! — endorsed Anthony Williams for mayor. Here’s another fun fact about Street’s residency issues: According to Tom Ferrick at Philly.com, Street is not listed as the owner of the Mayfair house he claims to live in, and records show the owner (not Milton Street) owes the city $7,700 in back real estate taxes.
The big news this week for Anthony Williams was his stellar ballot position: He got No. 1. That means that when you go to vote this May if you’re a registered Democrat, you’ll see his name first. The jury is still out on what effect this can have on an election, but a study out of the University of Virginia suggests that appearing first on the ballot can bump votes by as much as 5 percent. In a race where former Councilman Jim Kenney is gaining steam, a 5 percent bump for Williams could be huge.
The city played with its balls for awhile on Wednesday. Ballot positions were selected via each candidate selecting a ball out of a vintage coffee can that determined their ballot position (which is apparently a long-held Philly tradition). The ballot position for the mayoral race is as follows: 1. Tony Williams 2. Milton Street 3. Jim Kenney 4. Doug Oliver 5. Nelson Diaz 6. Lynne Abraham.
Also this week: Candidates gathered in Center City for a forum on Better Mobility, in which Oliver called cyclists elitist and Street talked about the decisiveness of “fat people.” My colleague Mark Dent was at the forum, and wrote about it here.
Lucky for Kenney, ‘Nova won. And it wasn’t close.
— Jim Kenney (@JimFKenney) March 19, 2015
Who messed up
The city’s election Board of Ethics fined the Carpenter’s Union $1,000 for donating $10,000 over the limit to Anthony Williams’ campaign. But here’s the kicker: It’s still unclear whether or not Williams will have to give back that extra 10K in cash. According to The Inquirer, there’s been no mention of a penalty for Williams or his campaign.
What people are pissed about
Everyone’s mad at Manny Morales, the guy who
has had the backing of the Democratic party to run against City Council incumbent Maria Quinones-Sanchez. Morales is under fire for a bunch of Facebook posts that basically seem to indicate he’s a terrible Democrat — pro-gun, anti-abortion, anti-gay, etc. He’s claiming he was hacked, even though the posts date back to 2010.
And while this isn’t directly related to the mayor’s race, it could have implications there. Nelson Diaz had backed Morales, but has since backtracked on it, calling this week for Morales to apologize and withdraw his candidacy. Morales no longer has the backing of the party, but doesn’t appear to be dropping out. He also apparently thinks having lesbian neighbors makes him openminded. OK.
Show me the money
The candidates can talk all day about how relatable they are, but few Philadelphians are bringing in pension payments like some of these longtime public officials. The Daily News‘ Wendy Ruderman pulled together data that shows what each candidate’s pension payments would be if they are elected and if they’re not elected. Explore it here.
It all started with The Daily Show. Jon Stewart was interviewing Allentown native Amanda Seyfried earlier this week, when he told her that “everything in Philadelphia is awful.” Mayoral candidate and current state Sen. Anthony Williams quickly posted a video on YouTube to basically tell Stewart: Um, no, Philly is actually awesome. One of the reasons was that it’s cheaper to see our terrible NBA team. So.
“Yes it is elitist. This is not a diverse room. As much as we like the concept of one city the fact is we don’t have one city. We have people worrying about getting shot and getting jobs.”
That was said by Doug Oliver, when asked at the Better Mobility bike forum Thursday night if cycling is elitist. While that was happening, fights were breaking out Northeast Philly during a protest at a policing forum.
So it wasn’t really a story, but City Paper created a cartoon about what it would look like if the mayoral candidates campaigned during the Erin Express, which, ICYMI is a booze-soaked make-out mess that takes place the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day each year.
Ajay “the contours of our potential” Raju, the CEO of Dilworth Paxson who’s in his 40s, could make a run for the mayor’s office, according to The Daily News‘ John Baer. Raju, who would run as an independent in November, says he “would potentially explore it” and could have significant backing from the business community.
Photo via @