ELEPHANT CORNER: They Backed Wolfe’s Idea … But Not The Man

Filed under: Columns,Latest News |

The citizens in Philadelphia showed their disregard for their right to vote.

Of the roughly 800,000 registered Democrats in the City of Philadelphia, 161,890 voted in the primary for Governor. Given the hue and cry in Philadelphia about the “evil policies” of GOV. TOM CORBETT, one would think a few more might show up to select his opponent in the November election.

What was even more fascinating was the number of Democrats who did show up at the polls, but failed to vote in the special election for City Council. Democrat ED NEILSON only received 39% of the votes of those who voted in the gubernatorial primary. Yes, some of them did vote for Matt Wolfe, but most either opted not to vote for Neilson or could not find the special election. Wolfe received 12,509 votes, which exceeded the number of Republican voters of roughly 9,800 (I am assuming the number of Republican voters Tuesday was essentially equal to those who voted in the gubernatorial primary).

On Tuesday, the voters in the City of Philadelphia missed the opportunity to elect MATT WOLFE to City Council. He would have been a voice for change at Broad & Market. But perhaps the citizens are happy living in “poorest big city in America,” as Wolfe frequently described Philadelphia. Some might say that his message about reducing taxes on businesses was an “offensive” Republican message, but his opinion is shared by PAUL LEVY of the Center City District, who is clearly not a Republican. (Please see the Center City District’s report on “Pathways to Job Growth”).

ALTHOUGH Republican Matt Wolfe's campaign to retain resign-to-run succeeded, voters would not cross party lines in enough numbers to elect him to City Council.

ALTHOUGH Republican Matt Wolfe’s campaign to retain resign-to-run succeeded, voters would not cross party lines in enough numbers to elect him to City Council.

However, the electorate did like Wolfe’s message in ballot issue #2 concerning the proposed change to the City Charter’s “resign to run” provision. The ballot provision went down in flames. The City Charter requires that officeholders must resign from their current positions to run for other offices. Wolfe repeatedly said through this campaign it was not fair to voters and taxpayers for City Council members to receive their six-figure salaries while they did not do the job to which they were elected, as they worked full time campaigning for the job they really want.

What I find disheartening is that the electorate listened to Wolfe’s message, but could not bring themselves to vote for a Republican. Instead they voted for the Democratic machine’s hand-picked next-in-line party functionary.

Neilson, I believe in response to Wolfe’s comments about politicians’ not doing their current jobs while running for another office, stated he did not miss a vote in Harrisburg during this election. Is that because he did not feel it necessary to campaign as the Democratic registration was so heavily slanted in his favor? We can only hope he remembered how he voted. His failure to remember how he voted on a key funding issue for Philadelphia schools was a contributing factor to his losing the endorsement of another Philadelphia paper to Wolfe. If this opportunity for City Council had not arisen owing to the resignation of BILL GREEN, and had he faced a primary fight in District 174 with incumbent STATE REP. JOHN SABATINA, would he have made all of those votes?

Neilson is currently a State Representative in the 169th Dist., which through reapportionment is in York Co. effective this election. Even if he could run in 169 owning to the residency requirements, he would not want to, as the new district is solidly Republican.

As an aside, the Republicans in York Co. must not have gotten the memo on the “war on women” as the victor in the Tuesday’s crowded Republican primary in the new 169 was attorney KATE KLUNK.

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3 Responses to ELEPHANT CORNER: They Backed Wolfe’s Idea … But Not The Man

  1. Wolfe or any serious candidate has to give voters something to vote FOR and not against some rehash like resign-to-run which the voters shot a variation of down 7 years ago. Besides potholes and other basic city services, one hopes potential leaders like Wolfe will offer smart, creative 21st-century ideas that exhort the city to grow and build.

    Wolfe might do well to share a forward vision of the city people can get behind and not just a creative way to attack a fellow Republican for political gain.

    Real Meaning
    May 24, 2014 at 7:26 pm

  2. I wholeheartedly concur with the sentiment of the article. I’ve known Matt for many years and he would have made an excellent City Councilman.

    I do not live in Philadelphia, having lived there for a few years while in college. However, my dad grew up there and my grandparents lived in the Northeast until my grandmother passed eight years ago.

    One of the things that drove them to vote for particular candidates in prior city elections was the ability of that candidate — usually Democrat — to keep the streets clean and safe and the neighborhood safe. Visiting them in the Northeast from my home in Jersey was no big deal — other than the home design, the people were no different from my neighbors and we felt safe in the Northeast.

    Today, I go by where my grandparents used to live and I can see a distinct change in the maintenance of their neighborhood. Matt was right in emphasizing the point about potholes and safety — if you can’t do the basics, how do you expect to serious economic development for the city?

    from the peanut gallery
    May 30, 2014 at 5:34 pm

  3. Neilson had major support from the Electricians’ Union. I never so many canvas my neighborhood in South Philly on election day. People have promises from the union and Democrats that they are afraid will be taken away.

    People aren’t worry about or do not understand the common good. People look out after their own bread-and-butter issues.

    Stanley Ianieri
    June 2, 2014 at 1:00 am

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