POLS ON THE STREET: Brady Scores Well With Endorsed Slate

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CINDY BASS, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Marian Tasco, Blondell Reynolds Brown, Curtis Jones, Jr. and Ivy Staten enjoy luncheon at Relish.

Faced with a minefield dominated by Get-Out-The-Vote specialists, including some fellow ward leaders and at least three faith-based clergy associations, who in elections past would have honored the endorsements of the Democrat City Committee instead, Party chair and Congressman Bob Brady, safely brought to victory eight of his endorsed Common Pleas judicial candidates, his Municipal Court and Traffic Court endorsed candidates, as well as all the row-officeholders save for Commission Chair Margaret Tartaglione.

It was easy to see bad ballot positions helped defeat Judges Michael Fanning and J. Scott O’Keefe as well as Tartaglione.

With a ton of money being handed out to ward leaders, the faith-based groups, and at least two coalition groups of ward leaders, it seemed the primary was anyone’s ball game to win.

But Brady’s team struck them out. One of the top GOTV ward leaders, John Sabatina, Sr., lost three of the four judicial campaigns he was mentoring. The fourth, Charles Ehrlich, won as he was also the beneficiary of a Democrat City Committee endorsement.

Effective GOTV support was demonstrated by Democrats of Oak Lane Team, who brought in seven of their 11 endorsements. Headed by Marion Wimbush, the Team sponsors annual Mothers Day and Pre-Election Sunday brunches at the Oak Lane Diner, where their candidates were given a chance to appear on radio as well as meet and greet the voters.

Some of the winners and some of the losers in judicial races dug deep to bolster their turnouts. The next crop of judicial candidates, in the next primary, should understand without the insurance policy a Party endorsement can give them, they might as well save their money.


Mayor Michael Nutter put his arms around 11 City Council candidates, endorsing them all, and came up just one short. Whether they will feel beholden to him when it comes to passing bills for more taxes and fees remains to be seen.

Of the 11, only one of his picks failed to make the Tuesday 8 p.m. muster. That was Martin Bednarek, who lost handily to Bob Henon to replace Councilwoman Joan Krajewski in the 6th Dist.

The others selected by Nutter in the District races were Mike Squilla, 1st; Kenyatta Johnson, 2nd; Curtis Jones, 4th; Maria Quiñones-Sánchez,7th; Cindy Bass, 8th; Marian Tasco, 9th; and the five incumbent Council at-Large members, all who have returned for another four-year term: W. Wilson Goode, Jr., Bill Green, Bill Greenlee, James Kenney and Blondell Reynolds Brown.


1st Ward Leader John Dougherty also emerged from Tuesday’s election with some new friends on City Council. His powerful union, IBEW Local 98, endorsed and heavily funded one incumbent Councilman at Large, Bill Green, along with two new District Council faces, Mark Squilla in the 1st and Bob Henon in the 6th. So the Electricians’ interests will have several sets of friendly ears in the next Council.

Faced with three formidable opponents, Squilla still waltzed home with 41% of the vote. Henon, who is Local 98’s political director, crushed Ward Leader Marty Bednarek to take over the 6th Dist. with 65% of the vote. Green came in second in the at-Large race with over 63,000 votes.

Dougherty’s Common Pleas judicial candidate Angelo Foglietta also came in second in a crowded field, with over 48,000 votes. In the seven-way race for one seat on Municipal Court, Dougherty’s candidate Marty Coleman also ran a strong second to the Party-endorsed favorite Marvin Williams, winding up with over 26,000 votes to Williams’ 36,000.


Warring camps within Philadelphia’s Republican Party can both claim victory – at least a moral victory – after Tuesday’s remarkable primary.

City Committee’s endorsed candidate Karen Brown held a slim lead over insurgent John Featherman on Wednesday morning with 96.44% of the vote tabulated – 8,251 to 8,192. This race cannot be called until absentee ballots are counted.

In the City Commissioners’ race, Al Schmidt, who carried the banner for dissidents allied to the State Republican Committee, ran very close to incumbent Commissioner Joe Duda, 9,186 to 9,290. The two are guaranteed spots on the November ballot.

With 10,797 votes recorded by Wednesday morning, Ward Leader David Oh led the GOP ticket handsomely with 10,797 votes, followed by State Rep. Denny O’Brien at 10,106. Banker Joe McColgan ran a strong third, with business organizer Al Taubenberger and attorney Michael Untermeyer finishing off the ticket. These two ticket-leaders have steadfastly avoided identifying themselves with either faction. McColgan, although a protégé of Duda’s, made a forthright appeal to the State Committee people as well; while Untermeyer is associated more with the Center City crowd that supports the State Committee, he has always respected City Committee and was its chosen candidate for District Attorney two years ago.

Now completely out of the picture is a faction of one: incumbent Councilman at Large Frank Rizzo. Rejected by both camps because he had accepted a DROP payment, the Councilman found ordinary Republican voters of a like mind. He finished sixth and will not return to Council next year.


Much of the activity around Election Courts throughout the city centered on “phony ballots”. Complaining were endorsed candidates whose names were not on the sample ballots circulated as “the official Democrat or Republican Sample Ballot”. They looked like real thing, but carried the name of the unendorsed challenger.

The judges ruled they were not to be distributed. But the enforcement procedure wasn’t there to follow up.

Taking advantage of this irritant to weaken the opposition was the campaign team of Bob Henon in the 6th Council Dist. The judge heeded his request to have ballots circulated by City Commission chief Margaret Tartaglione and his opponent Marty Bednarek confiscated as illegal.

It didn’t take long for the Tartaglione and Bednarek campaign team to answer and demand the ballots be returned. The judge found he ruled in error and ordered the ballots returned forthwith.


Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez found some good advice coming her way from Laborers District Council and flooded her Latino wards with workers election versed in, of course, Spanish.

Her win is considered a come from behind victory.


“Roarbacks” continue to exist, even though candidates hit by them can now almost instantaneously come back with their own retaliation. For those who don’t remember, roarbacks are an unproven charge or an outright lie about your opponent launched through the mail or via poll handouts at the very last minute, making it almost impossible for the target to answer back and brand the mail or handout for what it is.

These had surfaced in the 6th and 7th Council Dists.

In the 7th, challenger Dan Savage had to resort to a last-minute court order to stop the dissemination of a piece in the 33rd Ward that accused him of supporting a methadone clinic in one of the neighborhoods in his District. It had no disclaimer.

In the 6th, Martin Bednarek had enough time for his mailed answer to reach voters charging a Bob Henon piece had lied about his record as a member of the School Reform Commission, citing the correct dates of his tenure and his not being responsible for SRC actions with which Henon charged him.


New 6th Dist. Councilman Bob Henon heeded the advice of his mentor IBEW Local 98 Business Manager John J. Dougherty, Jr., to march through Polish American neighborhoods in Port Richmond behind a Mummers band. The first door his supporters knocked out brought a youngster with Down’s syndrome, followed by his dad, who told Henon, “I wouldn’t dare vote for anyone else but you and Johnny Doc, since my child has been the beneficiary of so much from the Variety Club through your efforts.”


With an edge of 72 machine votes to his credit as of yesterday morning, State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson may still be the final winner in the close challenge he seems to have survived with Barbara Capozzi. But that won’t be decided until 155 absentee ballots are figured in, plus, as of press time, at least a dozen or more alternative ballots.

Both campaigns gathered absentee ballots, but they weren’t certain of the numbers turned in by their respective cadres.


The District Council races went to those who were endorsed by their respective caucuses. The one exception was the 8th, where the bulk of the ward leaders had indicated they were backing Verna Tyner. Cindy Bass took that one with  powerbrokers Mayor Michael Nutter, Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Phila.) and State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-W. Phila.) behind her.


With 86 challengers and incumbents seeking to fill or reclaim 25 seats, the Democrat City Committee ballot was a long one for voters to follow.

Where it was the only ballot available to Democrat voters in the various election precincts or divisions around the city, it served as a guide that took at least five minutes for the average voter to locate the entire ticket on the voting machine.

The sole question on the ballot, as a result, saw a major drop in the total vote, due to the fact many voters forgot there was a question on the ballot and failed to spot it, so involved were they in locating the Party choices.

Many Democrat ward leaders had their committeepersons pass out their “reduced” versions of the full Democrat-endorsed slate, almost all eliminating the citywide judicial races for Superior and Commonwealth Court.

The Republican ballot, for the first time in recent history, had challengers in five of the 11 races on the primary ballot. Theirs was easier to navigate, though, and required average voting time of only two minutes.

Adding to the confusion facing Democrat voters were the District Council fights in the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th and 8th Dists., where volunteers and get-out-the-vote workers were presenting bullet or short ballots, containing few other names beside their prime selection.


Approximately 65 nonprofits, many working on housing and the shelters for the homeless, worked this primary to get homeless and low-income voters out to the polls. The Vote for Homes Command Center was located at Project H.O.M.E. headquarters at 1515 Fairmount. Sister Mary Scullion, executive director of Project H.O.M.E., said the coalition was “proving people who are homeless and living on low incomes do vote and should have their voices heard.”


Don’t count out Anne Marie Coyle, Republican nominee for the Court of Common Pleas. As with other judicial candidates, she filed to run on both the Democrat and Republican slates.

Unendorsed by the Dems, she logged in 20,197 votes in that column while she topped the Republican slate with a 10,845 vote. The ever-smiling attorney no doubt has won the hearts of Hibernians and others throughout the city and they may just coalesce to make her a commendable challenger for one of the 10 Common Pleas seats in November.


Lou Jasikoff is the newly chosen chair of the Libertarian Party in Pennsylvania. He takes office thanking Mike Robertson, who served as chair for over four years. Jasikoff was a former chair for the Libertarians for two years in New Jersey. More recently, he served as eastern vice chair for LPP and chair for the Northeast Pennsylvania Libertarian Party.

Jasikoff can be reached at any of these websites: lou@jasikoff.com, www.lppa.org, and www. nepalibertarians.org.


Eighth Ward leader Stephanie Singer’s win in the City Commissioner’s Democrat race resulted in the defeat of long time Chair Margaret Tartaglione.

If tradition is to hold sway, the next chairman of the Commissioners will be Commissioner Anthony Clark.  Both will have their hands full, should they successful dominate the Commissioners’ race in the general election.

Either Republican Joseph Duda or Al Schmidt will be asked to support one of the two Democrats as chair and Clark has the edge.

However, there will be a brain drain in the offices of the City Commissioners, since several of the key administrators, with tenure well over 30 years, have indicated they will be taking their leave as well.

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