Naked City's live Philly 2012 primary election reporting extravaganza post
Welcome to our 2012 primary super-bloggo-extravaganza! Below, you'll find live coverage from Naked City's entrepid reporting team.
In the 182nd state house district, longtime incumbent progressive Babette Josephs faces a serious challenge from former treasurer Brian Sims, a former football player who would be the first openly gay state legislator in Pennsylvania history.
In the 197th, Jewell Williams, who left his job as state rep to become Philly's sheriff, will be replaced by Jamil Ali, JP Miranda, Kenneth Walker Jr. or Jewel — that's one 'l' — Williams, his daughter. To make it all more confusing, there's a simultaneous special election being held to fill that seat until November. More on that race from Philly Clout.
In West Philly's 188th district, incumbent James Roebuck, ranking member of the House Education Committee, is facing a serious challenge from Penn grad Fatimah Loren Muhammad — one of several candidates this year backed by a massive influx of money from a shadowy PAC supporting private school vouchers as my colleague Daniel Denvir has reported.
Today we're posting sample ballots, endorsements and cheat sheets for tomorrow's primary. Each, of course, reprsents the opinion of the individual or group who sent it to us (because we don't have opinions).
Here are the picks by former City Controller candidate, tax reform activist, and general political gadfly Brett Mandel.
District 182 – Center City Philadelphia including Washington Square, Rittenhouse Square, Grays Ferry, Bella Vista, and Logan Circle -- Brian Sims (D) is an attorney and civil rights advocate who is the former Staff Counsel for Policy and Planning at the Philadelphia Bar Association. Brian has the smarts and the energy to change the divisive and corrupting Harrisburg political culture. http://www.sims4pa.com/
District 188 – West Philadelphia including University City, Walnut Hill, Spruce Hill, Cedar Park, and Squirrel Hill -- Fatima Muhammad (D) is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and former associate director of Penn’s Greenfield Intercultural Center. Fatima is intelligent, principled, and capable. Fatima would be an exciting new voice in a state legislature that is often reluctant to change. http://www.electfatimah.com/
District 195 – North and West Philadelphia including Mantua, Powelton Village, Fairmount, and North Philadelphia -- Andrew Kleeman (D) is an experienced businessman and engaged community member. He has created jobs and fought for neighborhood change. Andrew is someone who could make a difference in Harrisburg in areas from green energy to governmental reform. http://www.kleeman2012.com/
District 202 – North and Northeast Philadelphia including Olney, Oxford Circle, and Lawncrest -- Numa St. Louis (D) is an attorney and community advocate and recently served as the Director of the Student Enrichment Academy of TAFS, the largest family shelter in Philadelphia. Numa is energetic and bright and is passionate about making real change. http://www.vote4numa.com/
District 172 – Northeast Philadelphia including Fox Chase, Bustleton, and Mayfair -- Kevin Boyle (D) is seeking re-election after his first term as State Representative. Kevin is a Philly guy (Cardinal Dougherty/La Salle University) who earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard University and has been a thoughtful voice for education issues. http://voteboyle.com/kevin/
District 156 – East Bradford Township, East Goshen Township, West Chester, West Goshen -- Bret binder (D) is a super bright lawyer who has grown local businesses and created jobs. He is innovative and energetic (and a heck of a pitcher) and will be a strong proponent for support for public education and other progressive issues. http://www.bretbinderforpa.com
Tomorrow's primary election ... yes, there's a primary election tomorrow ... is right on course to be yet another contest in which voters aren't tuned in to local races, by and large fail to turn out, and thereby leave the reigns of power in the hands of a tiny number of individuals who've bothered to figure out how to get their guys and gals in office.
But who can blame this hapless electorate: the races are many, the terms of debate often unclear, and the political alliances behind these races many and mucky.
The best place to get to know who you'll have the opportunity to vote for is the Committee of Seventy's extremely helpful voter guide, where you can find your polling place and see a list of candidates.
The next best place to go might be Philly.com's new voters guide, where you can generate a sample ballot from your address.
The third best place to go, though, might be your slightly-better-informed friend. There's no shame in using a cheat sheet — in fact, endorsement lists, cheat sheets, and sample ballots are one of the main ways interest groups get their ticket out to a wider audience.
So please, politicos: help out your fellow voter and send City Paper a list (or link to a list) of the candidates you or your organization endorses. We'll do our best to post it quickly.
Here's one to start, sent by Sam Durso, of Philly For Change, a group dedicated to making "progressive change" in Philly and which hosted several candidates' forums prior to announcing endorsements. This is their list.
Together, we proudly endorsed:
Larry DeMarco for the 161st State House district
James Roebuck for the 188th State House district
Charisma Presley for the 198th State House district
Michael Ellis for the 201st State House district
Matt Cartwright for the 17th Congressional district
William Dunbar for the 177th State House district
Babette Josephs for the 182nd State House district
J. Miranda for the 197th State House district
Mark Cohen for the 202nd State House district
Larry Farnese for the first State Senate district
Allyson Schwartz for the 13th Congressional district
Richie Antipuna, a Green Party candidate for City Commissioner (who was not endorsed by the Green Party), will be dropping out of the race following legal challenges to his petition, the Kenzington man announced today from the comfort of his backyard swimming pool, according to a press release from his campaign today.
The release states:
"Following his withdrawal, Richie Antipuna, who was interviewed while relaxing in his back-yard pool in Kensington, said, “I feel like the Ralph Nader of Philadelphia,” referring to the 2004 Green Party candidate for President of the United States. Ralph Nader’s name was never allowed to appear on the ballot, and Pennsylvania’s voters were never free to vote for him or against him. ...
... The Democrats and Republicans use the law to slap the little guy in the face,” charged Antipuna. “Anyone who leaves a major party to run for election is punished for leaving their party. Political parties in Philadelphia are like posses, street gangs from the 1980s. If you pull out of one posse, you get beat up by all of them."
This will certainly come as bad news to supporters of Antipuna for City Commissioner — but, perhaps, as good news to fans of the Richie Antipuna Show, a web video show about Kensington. If you haven't checked it out yet, you really need to. Here's a sample quote:
"It has been widely reported that School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who recently laid of 1,500 school workers and ... came ... and ... injunction? What the fuck does that mean? 'Came and injunction?' You gotta stop this shit."
Three-way race for mayor? Looks like it: radical activist Diop Olugbala will likely be on the ballot.
Unless a sudden (and successful) challenge to his filing petition emerges, International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate Diop Olugbala, also known as Wali Rahman, will be on the ballot with Mayor Nutter and Republican candidate Karen Brown this November, affirms Tim Dowling of the City Commissioners office.
Rahman will hold a press conference tomorrow to "respond to Mayor Nutter’s announced escalation of aggressive police action targeting black youth, including 9pm curfews with threats of fines and jail time for youth and parents," according to a press release from his campaign.
Philadelphians might know the of the Uhuru Movement because of its Center City furniture store, which raises money for the group. City Paper freelancer Tom Dreisbach wrote about the group, and its controversial stance on shootings of police officers, a couple of years ago. (Uhuru members called Daniel Giddings, the alleged killer of police officer Patrick McDonald, a "warrior.")
Or you might remember Olugbala from an incident, also a few years ago, in which he was arrested after allegedly attacking a security guard inside city hall.
See below for a list of Independent and third-party candidates who met Monday's deadline to file enough signatures to get on the ballot this fall. Thanks in advance, candidates, for making the upcoming (and usually altogether non-competitive) election a little more interesting ... that is, if you don't get knocked off the ballot with a petition challenge first!
Cheri Honkala — Green Party candidate for Sheriff
Richie Antipuna — Green Party candidate for City Commissioner
Richard Johnson — Independent candidate for Council at-large
Brian Rudnick — Green Party candidate for the 8th Council District
Jim Foster — Independent candidate for the 8th Council District
Bobby Curry — Independent candidate for the 9th Council District
Rahim Dawkins — Independent candidate for the 9th Council District
When Jim Foster ran as an Independent in the 8th Council District race in 2007, he cobbled together enough signatures to get on the ballot in just 10 days. That challenge wasn't formidable enough, apparently. This Tuesday, Foster began collecting signatures to join the race for the 8th as an Independent — that's just six days before Monday's deadline.
Foster, who is the publisher of Germantown Newspapers, says he made the last-minute decision at the behest of community members. He claims that Democrat Cindy Bass — the winner of this year's seven-way primary race for the 8th Council District seat — is "not responding to anybody's communication" and therefore is "using the [current Councilwoman Donna Reed] Miller playbook."
"From what we can discern," Foster wrote in an email to community members this morning, "the future for the citizens of the 8th Council District will be another developer-financed, inside dealing, public-be-damned operation with most decisions done in the dark."
Joe Corrigan, a spokesman for Bass, responded, "We look forward to running just as robust a campaign this fall" as they did earlier this year, and "building on our broad base of support."
Foster will need to collect 750 signatures by Monday to run as an Independent.
The Republican party is looking for a Municipal Court judge candidate to appoint to the ballot, since judge Jimmie Moore has retired to challenge Bob Brady for his Congressional seat. Michael Meehan, general counsel of the Republican City Committee, sent an email this week to ward leaders asking for recommendations.
Is Jim DiVergilis — the Common Pleas judge candidate who, while campaigning earlier this year, said he'd have "no problem" hitting people on the bench — being considered?
Vito Canuso, chairman of the Republican City Committee, says, "I would assume that he is." He declined to say who else is in the running. DiVergilis is a long shot in the Common Pleas race, and he would also be a long shot if he got the Republican nomination for Municipal Court.
A Democratic City Committee staff member declined to say who it is considering to put on the ballot. Relatedly, today's PhillyClout reports that local Democratic party chief Brady says that Teamsters Local 830 leader Dan Grace "expressed interest" in having DiVergilis appointed to the seat left empty by Common Pleas judge Renee Cardwell Hughes.
In the email, Meehan also noted that Francis Shield, a Republican nominee for Court of Common Pleas, has withdrawn.
This week, state Rep. Dennis O'Brien (Philadelphia) was one of only two state House Republicans who didn't vote for Gov. Tom Corbett's budget. John Taylor, who is also from Philly, joined him.
What makes this interesting: O'Brien is running for City Councilperson at-large this fall, and critics say his middle finger to the GOP budget could possibly hurt him at the polls.
But then again, Philly is a Democrat's town — so there's a chance that it could help him win votes from the other side.
Until now, O'Brien looked like a sure winner. In May's primary, he was the second-top vote-getter among Republican at-large candidates, with David Oh being No. 1 — leading many to presume that they would both win in November's election. (City law stipulates that two of the seven Council at-large seats go to minority party members, usually Republicans.)
But John Featherman, who ran and lost by a slim margin in this year's GOP mayoral primary against Karen Brown, says O'Brien's vote changes everything.
"It's going to weaken his candidacy, and may encourage me and other Republicans to drop support for him," says Featherman. "It's absolutely not a Republican position to vote against Corbett's budget."
O'Brien did not return requests for comment.
Interestingly, during the primary, O'Brien was embraced by neither Republican party leaders nor the GOP insurgents who want to overthrow them.
Of course, O'Brien could also use his vote against Corbett's budget — which established deep cuts that critics say will especially hurt Philly — to tout his independence and attract Democrats. Even Featherman admits, "This decision may help him with Democrats" — but, he's quick to add, "not Republicans."
Following May's primary election, rumors swirled that the city's Republican party leaders might endorse all the GOP candidates who won, as a peace offering to the insurgents who want to overthrow them.
Prior to the election, the party failed to endorse three candidates who ended up winning in big races: Al Schmidt, Dennis O'Brien and Michael Untermeyer. Schmidt has been an especially vocal part of the Republican insurgency.
But at last Tuesday's meeting Republican City Committee, party leaders Michael Meehan and Vito Canuso did not endorse anyone, nor did they hold a vote to do so — at least not formally.
In an email to City Paper, Canuso said that there's simply no need to: "Endorsements are made for candidates seeking a party's nomination at a primary election. Once a candidate is successful, and wins the party's nomination, that person is the candidate of the party and there is no further need for an endorsement."
According to Republicans at the meeting, however, Councilperson at-large and City Commissioner candidates in attendance were allowed to give a brief speech.
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