POLS ON THE STREET: Fattah’s Fate Is Key To Other Seats

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BY JOE SHAHEELI/ City Controller Alan Butkovitz has eyed the Mayor’s seat as an ultimate goal in his long career as an elected official. Through the years, he represented his legislative district well, understood the moves necessary to insure successful elections, and then easily took the seat as City Controller when odds seemed to be against him.

As recently as last week, his coterie had made it known he had a game plan in place to assure him victory in the May Democratic primary should he declare. This week he announced he is out of the race, for anything but City Controller.

Those who know the Controller know he doesn’t change course without good reason. They know he won’t make a political career change unless he knew where it would take him and how. A couple of stepping stones in his plan may



have moved, based possibly on the looming storm over Congressman Chaka Fattah’s (D-Phila.) alleged dubious financial dealings.

The Congressman is reportedly ready to tender his resignation, albeit reluctantly.

It’s by no means a done deal at this hour, but key Democratic Party leaders are seeing his possible resignation as setting off a scenario which would send Mayor Michael Nutter to Washington as Fattah’s replacement, with Council President Darrell Clarke automatically stepping in as Nutter’s. The Nutter move, though not welcome in some quarters, could happen should Party Chairman Bob Brady unite the 2nd Congressional Dist. ward leaders behind it.

Should this happen, Clarke would enter the primary for Mayor, dimming chances for the already-announced contenders for that office. Clarke will be able to use his new office to make moves endearing him with tax-burdened voters and school-depressed parents.

Terry Gillen is in the Mayor’s race, no matter what. She has already



bitten the economic bullet, resigning her job to run. Others announced haven’t had to do so.

Notably, State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D-W. Phila.) has a strong force of ward and education leaders going for him as he announced his intention to seek the mayoralty last evening at Constitution Center. Not surprisingly, though a strong charter-school advocate, he will have some public-school supporters in his corner. They know he’ll champion their cause as well. With him were a group of elected, ward and community leaders.

Earlier, at high noon yesterday, a tough cookie, long-time District Attorney Lynne Abraham, announced her reasons for reentering the political field as a mayoral candidate. She did so at the Franklin Institute with an impressive number of supporters in attendance.

Mayor Michael Nutter’s former Press Secretary Doug Oliver, now senior VP of marketing and corporate communications at Philadelphia Gas Works, announced Tuesday an exploratory committee for citywide office, DO2015.



Oliver has been discussed as a possible mayoral candidate, often by Republicans. H
owever, he made clear if he decides to shoot for the mayoralty, he will do so as a Democrat.
DO2015’s initial goals are more circumspect, though: “to encourage citywide engagement in the 2015 Mayor’s race.”

13th Congressional Dist. Congressman-Elect Brendan Boyle will leave big shoes to fill as he joins the US House of Representatives and leave vacant his 170th Legislative Dist. seat.



But ward leaders in that state legislative district have signaled his replacement will be John DelRicci, a fixture in Ward 66B since he was a sophomore in high school.

They are hosting him at a reception this evening at the FOP Hall, 7-9 p.m.

It’s no secret major law firms in the Commonwealth have pressed Gov.-Elect Tom Wolf for one of their own to be among his three considerations for Supreme Court. As soon as it was apparent Wolf was considered the front runner in the gubernatorial contest, campaign money flowed in more heavily from those law



firms interested in landing a Supreme Court Justice nominee.

For good reason. The SC will have two vacancies, and a third opening near the end of 2015.

The one hitch, limiting the contention to law firms with heavy political connections, is the fact those appointed will only serve until the end of the year and will need to run again in the 2015 primary. Any new Justice appointed will not serve more than 11 months, with their time focused on winning the primary.

The Court has four justices who ran as Republicans and two as Democrats. Judges are elected on a partisan basis in Pennsylvania, but stand for nonpartisan yes/no retention elections every 10 years.

Gov. Tom Wolf could make appointments immediately after his swearing in to fill the vacancies open as result of retirement of Justice Seamus McCaffery and Chief Justice Ronald Castille, forced out by age retirement. He turned 70 earlier in the year.

A third vacancy on the Court that will have to be filled by the November 2015 election is the seat held by Justice Correale F. Stevens. He was appointed by Gov. Corbett.

The terms of each of the four remaining justices vary but if the current mandatory retirement age does not change, three will have to retire by the end of 2018 (Justices Saylor and Baer in 2017 and Justice Eakin in 2018). Justice Todd will be eligible to stand for retention in 2017.

Justices Saylor and Eakin ran for the Court as Republicans and Justices Baer and Todd as Democrats.

Look for movement in both chambers of General Assembly to raise he age level to retirement to 75. A joint bill passed both chambers last time and needs to do so this session. It seems to be on a fast track, but voters will still need to approve the constitutional amendment. Leadership is shooting to have this done in time to be placed in the 2016 primary, which could happen as early as Primary Day on Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

You recently read it here: The Northeast Democratic Ward Leaders who represent the 5th Senatorial Dist. seat held by Lt. Gov.-Elect Mike Stack, have caucused and come up with their Caucus Chairman Mike McAleer to replace Stack when he resigns from that seat. They knew what Stack knew when he said he may hold on to both seats, which he could legally do. That kept the contenders from vying against each other and forgetting there was a campaign to win.

Now, the incoming Lieutenant Governor has made it clear he will resign in time for the party leaders to pick his successor in the special election to be held in the primary. McAleer will not run after Stack’s term ends.

Democratic Party State Chairman Jim Burn must believe Democrats have a lock on Latino voters in the state. He is now emailing messages to Latino Democrats in Spanish. The most-recent one talks up Latino elected officials in various sections of the state. He may need help with some of the translation.

Philadelphia Republican Party Exec. Dir. Joseph DeFelice, Esq., this week revealed the Republican Party of Pennsylvania will host its 2015 Northeast Republican Leadership Conference this June in Philadelphia. Why, in a city, where Democrats continue to dominate registration rolls and voter turnout?

Maybe it is the beginning of an effort to invigorate more of the party regulars into pushing registrations. City Republicans last night answered a call at Ladder 15 for potential candidates to make their interest known as the local GOP leadership has begun an effort to challenge more of the Democratic incumbents holding long uncontested district seats. If interested and you missed the event, call Joe at (215) 756-4158.

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania is also encouraging all potential candidates for the 2015 Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth Court races to contact the Keystone State GOP for more information regarding the upcoming party process so that candidates can engage with our grassroots activists. Participating in meetings this December and January will provide candidates with opportunities to share their qualifications and experiences with Republicans from all across the Commonwealth.

All interested candidates should send a resume and/or CV to Deputy Political Director Cody Harbaugh at charbaugh@pagop.org or call (717) 234-4901 for more information.

ANNOUNCING for City Council, teacher Isaiah Thomas enjoyed backing of Controller Alan Butkovitz, State Rep. Kevin Boyle and former State Rep. Tony Payton.

ANNOUNCING for City Council, teacher Isaiah Thomas enjoyed backing of Controller Alan Butkovitz, State Rep. Kevin Boyle and former State Rep. Tony Payton.

Northwest Philadelphia educator, mentor and leader Isaiah Thomas announced his candidacy for Philadelphia City Council at Large at his alma mater Frankford HS on Tuesday. Thomas is a product of public schools and educator on the high school and college levels, Thomas’ campaign will focus on fixing what he sees as the number-one issue facing the city – education.

He was the youngest in the at large field four years ago and almost caught one of the five gold rings.

On hand to show support were City Controller Alan Butkovitz, Councilman at Large Bill Greenlee, State Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-Northeast), an officer of health-workers’ union Dist. 1199C, former State Rep. Tony Payton and charter-school supporters.

The “Friends of Randy Robinson” campaign committee gathered at TWU Local 234 headquarters to commence the efforts to raise money for Randy Robinson, who will be seeking an at-Large GOP Council seat. Robinson, a well-known Republican publicist and campaign strategist, says his committee is bipartisan, with healthy support including labor. Renee Amoore is chairing the committee.

Government unions pumped more than $7 million directly to political candidates across Pennsylvania—including $2.7 million given to Gov.-Elect Tom Wolf — and at least $1.6 million in election-related TV ads.

The most recent campaign finance reports show seven Pennsylvania government unions gave $7.2 million in campaign contributions in 2013-2014. That’s up from the $4.7 million during the last election cycle.

Topping the list were PSEA: $3,037,756; SEIU: $2,119,312; AFSCME: $1,178,197; and UFCW: $385,179.

Government unions funneled an additional $1.6 million to Pennsylvania “SuperPACs” like PA Families First, which ran several TV ads in support of Wolf.

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One Response to POLS ON THE STREET: Fattah’s Fate Is Key To Other Seats

  1. After today’s immigration deal with Obama, he knows that both he as well as the Black community have been replaced. There are no more democratic bailouts for them. Change is coming and these fools can feel glad that they had a hand in it.

    November 21, 2014 at 6:59 pm

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