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.
The Inquirer reports that Karen Brown is the "apparent" champ in the GOP race for mayor, against John Featherman, winning by a difference of just 58 votes. The article notes that, "Election officials said they doubted the number of provisional ballots would change the outcome of the race."
But Carmen Seminara, acting supervisor of elections in the City Commissioners' office, tells City Paper that it ain't over till it's over. He says that provisional ballots still have yet to be counted — of which there could be dozens from Republican voters — meaning it's "possible" that the apparent winner won't win in the end.
The Commissioners hope to have an unofficial count of the provisional ballots done by tomorrow.
UPDATE: And even when it's over, it might not be over: Featherman told CP over the phone that once a winner is officially declared, it's a "possibility" that he'll go to court to challenge the results if the race comes down to fewer than 100 votes.
According to today's count by the City Commissioners, Kenyatta Johnson has beat Barbara Capozzi in the 2nd Council District race by just 46 votes — and it looks like Capozzi agrees with those results (for now, anyway).
Meanwhile, according to the Commissioners' office, the GOP mayoral race between Karen Brown and John Featherman still isn't over. With all the machine results in, Brown is currently up by 57 votes, but the office still has 180 alternative and absentee ballots to count.
They plan on counting those Wednesday.
After today's "unofficial" count of alternative and absentee ballots, the winner in the race for the next 2nd District Councilperson is still unclear.
Before the count, Kenyatta Johnson was beating Barbara Capozzi by 72 votes. According to the Committee of Seventy, today's count was 39 for Capozzi, 27 for Johnson, 17 no votes, 7 for Tracey Gordon, 6 for Damon Roberts — and 38 are anticipated to be challenged for various reasons.
Tomorrow, the Commissioners will count 93 provisional ballots from the 2nd.
Meanwhile, the race between GOP mayoral candidates Karen Brown and John Featherman is also still up in the air. The Commissioners are counting alternative and absentee ballots from around the city on Monday.
Yesterday, more than 60 percent of voters approved a ballot question that would create a 17-member jobs commission to study how to boost employment in the private sector.
The Committee of Seventy, a watchdog group, recommended that voters not approve it, arguing that it "would risk the creation of another potentially permanent and costly government 'commission' which is not necessary."
Translation: It could be a vehicle for patronage jobs, according to critics.
Seventy also points out that several government agencies tasked with job creation already exist, including the Commerce Department and the Office of Economic Opportunity.
But the commission's chief sponsor, Councilman Darrell L. Clarke, wrote in a letter that "Seventy's position is 100 percent wrong."
He argues that the jobs commission is necessary because, as of February, the unemployment rate "was a staggering 10.4 percent."
"The Commission will cast a wide net," Clarke says, "looking at job training, workforce development, economic development, education, licensing, zoning and taxation."
The members of the commission will be appointed by the mayor and City Council president. Not unrelatedly, Clarke is expected to run to become the next Council president against Councilwoman Marian Tasco.
One tax deadbeat, one non-lawyer, one man with long history of financial troubles, and another man who's said he might hit people while on the bench all won in yesterday's judicial races.
Sounds like a bad joke, eh?
Here are the deets:
Angelo Foglietta has owed thousands to the state and IRS, has had liens put on his home, and still owes debts resulting from a legal malpractice settlement, Metropolis reports. He says he's satisfied several of the debts, and paid down all of them.
Foglietta won in yesterday's race for Common Pleas judge. He's a Democrat, which means easy sailing in November's general election.
Christine Solomon, one of the many candidates for Traffic Court judge who is not a lawyer, won yesterday in the primary. (By law, you don't need to be.) She has the Democratic party's support. That means she'll almost certainly win in November, too.
Jim DiVergilis, City Paper readers know, has been in our paper quite a bit in past few weeks: First, because his campaign was providing police "courtesy cards" in exchange for donations. And then, because he said in a video that he's hit people before — and would have "no problem" continuing to so as a judge.
He won in yesterday's race for Common Pleas judge — but as a Republican. That means he's got a slim chance in November.
Lewis Harris, Jr. also won yesterday as a Republican, but for Traffic Court judge. CP found that he owes the city thousands in taxes, which Harris concedes to, but says he's contesting. Like DiVergilis, he's also got a small chance of winning in November.
Fewer than 24 hours have passed since polls cllosed in this year's primary election and — already! — a couple Independent and Green candidates have announced that they're throwing their hat in the ring for November's general election.
In the 3rd Council District: A mailer from Alicia Burbage turned up at a friend's doorstep yesterday. She's running as an Independent in the 3rd Council District race, but her campaign materials don't get much more specific than that. She was running against incumbent Jannie Blackwell this year as a Democrat, but got kicked off the ballot. Blackwell won yesterday with 98 percent of the vote (against Tony Dphax King, a nearly invisible candidate.)
Burbage's mailer does mention that she's worked with state Sen. Anthony Williams' office on constituent services for more than a decade. Her motto? "NO MORE OF THE SAME!" (Her caps.) Read more about her here.
In the 8th Council District: Last night, while I was gabbing about the election on G-Town Radio with host Ed Feldman and other esteemed guests, a man named Brian Rudnick called in. He announced that he's running as a write-in Green Party candidate in the 8th Council District race, in November's general election. Cindy Bass won in that district yesterday, with 39 percent of the vote.
In 2007, he also ran on the Green Party ticket, and got 4 percent of the vote in the general election — or, put another way, 1,126 votes — against incumbent Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller.
Rudnick criticizes the city's Democratic machine, which, he says, is responsible for "unreformed taxes on small business owners," DROP and "puff about being the greenest tree-filled city in the country yet unable to pick up the fall leaves," among other things. He also touts the fact that more than 1,000 people voted for him in 2007 "despite overwhelming odds against my being elected." Read more about him here.
In the at-large Council and/or mayoral race: And, of course, former Mayor John Street is continuing to ponder a run for an at-large Council seat — and possibly for mayor — reports Philly Clout.
Most of the votes from yesterday's primary are in, and most of the races have been called — but what does it all mean? Is the Democratic machine still alive and well? What about the Republican machine? Were there any shenanigans? Fights? Cliffhangers?
Worry not, ElectionEar is here to help!
See below for handy links to all of our primary roundup posts thus far, and look out for more throughout the day.
Are you from Mars, and just starting to follow this election? Read our cover story to find out what was at stake.
And then go here for last night's election results.
Before you start crying or cheering that Marge Tartaglione is done-zo, consider this: Provisional and absentee ballots have not yet been counted — plus, some precincts have not been reported — and three big races (including the City Commissioners) are still close.
"You might remember that the official count in the City Council at-large race between David Oh and Jack Kelly in 2007 was not finished until November 21," said Ellen Kaplan, vice president of the Committee of Seventy, via email. "The election was on November 5."
The close races are:
- for City Commissioner, between incumbents Anthony Clark and Marge Tartaglione. With 96 percent of the precincts reporting, Clark is beating Tartaglione by 980 votes. (Conversely, Stephanie Singer, the top vote-getter in the Commissioners' race, seems in like flint.)
- for the 2nd Council District, between Barbara Capozzi and Kenyatta Johnson. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Johnson is winning by just 72 votes!
- for Republican mayor, between Karen Brown and John Featherman — which is really a race between the old guard and new guard of Republicans. Brown is winning by 59 votes!
Is it possible that some of these races could flip — especially the ones that seem less resolved, i.e. for the 2nd Council District and Republican mayor?
"It depends," says Kaplan. "The closer the race, the greater the likelihood."
- Ask A Man-About-Town
- Award Tour
- Bad Idea Factory
- Below the Curve
- Brian Hickey
- Budget Fuss
- City Council
- City Hall
- CP Abroad
- CP in the Community
- Criminal Justice System
- Day Tripper
- Death and Taxes
- Delaware River
- Dubious Distinction
- End of Days
- Film Fest
- Financial Meltdown
- Free Library
- Gay Stuff
- Get Lit
- Hall Monitor
- Health Care
- Hello, Kitty
- Ice Cubes
- In Memoriam
- Marcellus Shale
- MUST READ
- Mysterious Mysteries
- Non Sequitur
- PA politics 2010
- Parking Wars
- Parks and Recreation
- People Send Us This Stuff
- Philadelphia Police
- Philadelphia Union
- Philly From Scratch
- philly madness
- President Obama
- Print Edition
- Readers Write
- Real Estate
- Rock Bottom
- Screwing Philly
- So Lush
- Sporting Life
- Sports Complex
- State Politicians
- State Politics
- Street Art
- Stuff We Like
- Taxi Drivers
- Tech Fetish
- The Budget Crisis
- The City Paper
- The CLOG
- The Human Condition
- The Mayor
- The Phightin Phils
- The World
- Things that make you go hm
- Tinfoil Hats Off
- Under the Table
- Under the Tables
- Urban Development
- Urban Planning
- urban wildlife
- Video Poker
- We Call Shenanigans
- Web Junk
- Weekend Omnibus
- White House
- What We've Found
- Women's Issues
- Flyered Up!
- How 'Bout That Weather?
- it's always sunny in philadelphia
- get out
- 10-track mind
- Bruce Being Bruce
- Gigantic Surprises
- Hello Canary
- Hello Puppy
- get lost
- Inside The Fishbowl
- Library Closings
- Local Support
- Night Moves
- Skeeze Police
- State Politicians Screwing Philly
- That's a cool stencil!
- Things We See
- This Week
- This Week in Oates
- University City
- What we don't heart
- what we heart
- Feeling Guilty
- Broke in Philly
- Dear Paper Doll
- Do A Good Thing
- Film Fest Schism
- G20-20 Vision
- Great American Heroes
- Pearl Jam Week
- Stars of the Photostream
- Lower Merion Webcam-Gate
- The Cycle
- Equality Forum
- Bureaucrat of the Week