POLS ON THE STREET: Why the 197th Outcome Is Easy to Figure

Filed under: Politics,Pols on the Street |

GOV. TOM WOLF cut the ribbon to open the 2017 Phila. Flower Show Friday night at the Preview Party. Hundreds of supporters and members of the Penna. Horticultural Society attended the black-tie affair for the opening of “Holland: Flowering the World.” Photo by Bonnie Squires

We’re not sticking our neck out in suggesting Democratic 43rd Ward Leader Emilio Vázquez will be the winner of next Tuesday’s special election in the 197th Legislative Dist.

We do understand a bit of the enthusiasm felt for the first time by Republican Party Chairman Joe DeFelice that GOP standard-bearer Lucinda Little has a shot at winning despite, its being a district heavily populated by Democratic voters … many of whom will be Latino.

DeFelice feels he can chalk up another win, citing State Rep. Martina White’s (R-Northeast) two successive wins in a district with a Democratic majority, State Rep. John Taylor’s (D-Northeast) staving off of an SEIU-funded $200k assault to unseat him in the 177th, with a wealth of Democratic registrations, and his party’s addition of new registrations to whittle the citywide Democratic majority from 8 to 1 to 6.5 to 1.

Here is why: A write in campaign is the toughest to run, even when the only opponent hasn’t much of a registration base in the district.

DeFelice is aware that has placed his party at a disadvantage. He is calling for Republican activists and lawyers to volunteer time to man polls and defend Little votes if and where necessary.

It is the same situation in which Green Party candidate Cheri Honkala, the national darling of the poor, underprivileged and the progressives, finds herself: the need for volunteers.

The problem with volunteers is many of them are handicapped by their newness to this unique assignment: instructing voters on how to cast a write-in vote. Though the City Commissioners go well out of their way to ensure casting a write-in vote is made easy, for the most part voters don’t listen or comprehend well.

The Democratic Party controls much of the election machinery, which includes the election board of each division. It has a minimum of two committee people, experienced watchers, at each of the polling places throughout the district, and boasts almost every member of each election board.

A plus for the Democratic candidate in this district, is many of the election divisions involved have also been through write-in campaigns in the recent past, especially in primaries.

There are three ways to cast a vote. One is to give a voter a rubber stamp to use; another is ask the voter to write in the name in the space provided on the machine; and the last is to ask the voter to carry a stick-on label to affix to the space calling for the write-in space to be filled. Most previous write-in campaigns have seen stamp marks and labels plastered everywhere on the machine except where they should have been imprinted.

But the Democratic Party, under the leadership of Congressman Bob Brady (D-Phila.), has maintained well-seasoned ward leaders in this district.

Now you can figure out for yourself why the odds heavily favor Emilio Vázquez to be sworn in the first Monday after election day to assume the duties vacated by State Rep. Leslie Acosta.

In the meantime, State GOP leader Val DiGiorgio, who is quite familiar with Philadelphia politics, is calling for contributions from state GOP loyalists to help provide Little with funding. Also jumping into the fray on her side are President Andy Thomas’ Philadelphia Firefighters’ Local 22. This happened right after she met with Latino leaders at Congreso de Latinos Unidos. This K&A gal is going where she is least expected to offer an alternative.

Little is the daughter-in-law of the late Traffic Court President Judge and once a ward leader, “Duke” Little.

SURROUNDED by zesty flavor and good brews at Chickie’s & Pete’s were the 39B Ward Democrats and their guests, including, L-R, William Dolbow, 35th Ward leader; judicial candidate Betsy Wahl; Matthew Myers, 39B Ward leader; and John J. Smith III, sales VP at Emerald Advisers, Inc. Photo by Eldon Graham

Guardians Tap Negrín For DA

The Guardian Civic League is calling on its members to support former managing director Rich Negrín for Democratic DA nominee in the May 16 primary. Its president Rochelle Bilal will either be called a “genius” or “a loser” with this one, since her membership is the first to lay their cards on the table.

They’ve also placed their bets on judicial candidates, including Judge Vincent Melchiorre, former State Rep. Mark Cohen, Leon Goodman, Vikki Kristiansson, Zac Shaffer, Lucretia Clemons, Crystal Powell and Sherman Toppin.

Despite the snowfall, almost all of those seeking slots attended the drawing for their ballot positions at the City Commissioners’ Office at Delaware & Spring Garden, too late for us to publish in this week’s issue.

The top ballot-placement holders usually have an edge in a crowded field and the race for District Attorney, the Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court are, as of now, potential gridlocks in the Democratic primary.

For DA, in addition to Negrín, are Judge Teresa Carr Deni, Michael Untermeyer, Tariq El-Shabazz, Joe Khan, Lawrence Krasner and John O’Neill.

Beth Grossman is uncontested in the Republican primary.

Surprisingly, City Controller Alan Butkovitz faces two challengers: The more serious one is Rebecca Rhynhart, former city treasurer and budget director; there is also Bobbie Curry, who has run in other campaigns. Lone GOP controller candidate is Mike Tomlinson.

Untermeyer Leans on His Experience

Michael Untermeyer states he has spent over a decade working in the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. He charges the office has been lackadaisical in their approach to consumer protection and has failed to hold corporations that commit wrongdoing accountable.

“I will bring a renewed focus on attacking white-collar and financial crime, while holding accountable any individuals or corporations that seek to take advantage of Philadelphia consumers. We’re going to create a dedicated white-collar crime and consumer-protection division within the District Attorney’s Office that will have extensive leeway and resources to conduct investigations and secure results,” he said.

Nation Mag Posts Helen Gym Article

Councilwoman at Large Helen Gym has had an op-ed piece published in The Nation, highlighting how Philadelphians have learned to build grassroots movements to transform narratives of disinvestment into a shared vision of vibrant public schools for all.

She wrote about a public-education movement that faced a billion dollars’ worth of budget cuts, and how she and others mobilized teachers, parents, students, clergy and community members into a formidable force for political change.

Lucky Draws for Negrín, Curry

Former Philadelphia Managing Dir. Rich Negrín was very lucky yesterday. He did not show up to pull for the ballot position in the Democratic primary, letting a civil servant do the honors for him. Nonetheless, he drew number 1 in the race for district attorney.
The other DA candidates, who did attend, will be listed in the following order. Joseph Khan drew number 2; Michael Untermeyer, number 3; Tariq El-Shabazz, number; Larry Krasner, number 5; Teresa Carr Deni, number 6, and John O’Neill, number 7.
In the pulling for the city controller’s race, Bobbie Curry, number 1, Rebecca Rhynhart, number 2; and incumbent Alan Butkovitz, number 3. This ballot order may lend a little extra spice to the controller’s race.

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One Response to POLS ON THE STREET: Why the 197th Outcome Is Easy to Figure

  1. It seems like the election in the 197th will go to court. Emilio would be a great choice to lead a troubled district, leadership wise, back to respectability.

    Michael Bell
    March 24, 2017 at 7:54 am

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