Matt Wolfe Leads Pack In University City Ward

 by Rory G. McGlasson

Ward leader Matt Wolfe is one Republican that knows how to lead his pack through a city of blood thirsty democrats.

Wolfe, 49, has been leader in the 27th for the last 26 years. Itís the home of the University of Penn and Drexel.

He says it's the numbers in Statewide Elections that matter most to his party in a city where Democrats rule the roost.

"Our job makes all the difference in the world in a Statewide Election," said Wolfe. "We have certain percentages we have to reach and as long as we reach them, we are happy."

Wolfe pointed to the last Presidential race and the close race in Tom Corbett's victory over Bruce Castor in the fight for Attorney General in 2004.

He said, "I'm proud we carried Tom Corbett in our ward in 04. In reflection there were only seven wards that carried Corbett. We had nothing against Bruce Castor, but we backed Corbett and we carried that into the Primary."

It was reported Wolfe's 27th Ward registrations increased by 150 percent through the Primary to General Election in last yearís Presidential campaign.

"In the last election we had a Republican Judge of Elections. We ran people. We had people appointed and worked hard to get them elected."

Born in Pittsburgh, but brought up in Elkins Park, Wolfe started College life at the University of Pennsylvania in 1974. He has never left.

He graduated from Penn in 1978. He then went to Villanova Law School graduating in 1981.

He has been serving the West Philadelphian community in some civic capacity his entire adult life. You could say he lives, works and breathes this part of town many call "a city within a city."

He said, "I do a lot more work in the community on the whole as well as being ward leader. I've spent the last two years working with the Spruce Hill Community Association."

Before replacing Kelly Carmine as ward leader in 1979, Wolfe worked on Arlen Specter's unsuccessful campaign for Governor.

This was Wolfe's first bite into party politics. However, he said he never plans to run for any political office himself.

Before getting his feet wet on the Specter campaign he was a Vice Chair of the College Republican's while at the Penn.

He currently works at the University City Law Offices of Alice Ballard.

Wolfe is also the Chairman of the College of Republicans in Philadelphia.

"I work closely with Andrew Gentsch of the 46th Ward. We do many joint fundraising efforts together.'

Wolfe says money raised in his ward mostly goes towards mail they send out to constituents. He also said his ward is well supported by its candidates on Election Day.

"In the last Mayoral race the Sam Katz team gave us a $100 a poll watcher. The Bush people gave us $200 last year, and we had two people in most divisions. We don't normally have that kind of money, but with Rick Santorum expected to raise $19-20 million, he might bulk up the Poll watching."

Wolfe says he genuinely gets on well with his Democratic counterparts.

However, he did add, "Nothing delighted me more last year as Republican Ward Leader than when my Democratic ward leader failed to show up on Election Day. I hope it happens every year."