Ryan Briggs Ryan Briggs is a staff writer and connoisseur of City Hall intrigue, business dealings, neighborhood gossip and local lore. Ryan has studied, worked and resided in Philadelphia since 2004, covering politics and development issues for Hidden City, Next City and Metropolis, amongst other fine publications.
Just 11.2 percent of Philadelphia's registered voters went to the polls yesterday, in a quiet election year that had some politicos predicting record-breaking low turnout. In fact, slightly more voters turned out than in 2009, the current "off-year" record holder.
The scene at incumbent Controller Alan Butkovitz's victory party, at the Tavern on Broad, conveyed a feeling of an election that was mostly the domain of party insiders and interest groups, reflecting the general disinterest of the public at large. The small, underground VIP lounge was packed with an unlikely array of figures ranging from former Sheriff Barbara Deeley, Point Breeze developer (and former supporter of Democratic controller candidate Brett Mandel) Ori Feibush, progressive activist Marc Stier, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, one-time State Rep candidate Tony Payton, and, er, Presidential-candidate Ed O'Donnell. But crowds of supporters with names that don't warrant a hyperlink never seemed to materialize.
Butkovitz took the stage to thank voters and his family.
"The results are overwhelming. … We have a record which I have been very proud of. We have recommended and implemented close to $800 million in savings and efficencies," he says. "We're going to make Philadelphia a city that works for all Philadelphians."
City Council President Darrell Clarke later took the stage with Butokovitz to congratulate the Controller on his victory, a surreal moment for two poltical figures who are both widely expected to run for Mayor. Either would leave a vacant seat, as they must resign to run for higher office; both have promised not to run if the other commits first.
But knowing this town, anything is possible.
In other news, soft-on-rapists Judge Deni and trouble-with-L&I Judge Means were both retained in landslides.
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