Who do you want to win? I must admit, I cannot decide between Knox and Nutter. But I no longer live in Philadelphia, so it is not my choice to make anyway.
Here are the candidates:
Race: African American
Job: State representative
Maritial Status: Single
Proposals and Experience: Evans has stuck to his philosophy that to fight crime the city must also create new jobs and improve its schools -- a philosophy that he developed in the Blueprint for a Safer Philadelphia and implemented in his West Oak Lane neighborhood. Evans illustrated the idea with a high-concept ad that ended with the tag line "Do Something" and launched a "Do Something" whistle-stop tour across the city. Gov. Ed Rendell has said Evans is probably best qualified for the job of mayor. He has been a powerful force in city and state politics, representing the West Oak Lane area in Harrisburg since 1980. He serves as the Democratic chair of the House Appropriations Committee. He's known for economic revival of Ogontz Avenue, legislative work on SEPTA and the Convention Center, and reforms in areas like crime and education.
It has been said that Evans, instead of being mayor, should be the Superintendent for the School District of Philadelphia or lead an anti-crime task force for the next mayor. The reason for that is because his poll numbers have never broken into the top tier and he has constantly trailed the others in last place. Indeed, and unfortunately, that is probably where he will end up.
Race: African American
Job: U.S. Congressman
Maritial Status and Family: Married to local NBC10 News Anchor Renee Chenault Fattah. Fattah has two children, a son and a daughter, from his first marriage and two young children from his current marriage.
Proposals and Experience: When Fattah entered this race, he was instantly a frontrunner with a long list of ideas. The most significant idea is his "Opportunty Agenda," which calls for a long-term lease of Philadelphia International Airport to fund a broad anti-poverty program. Through the campaign, Fattah has focused on the city's high rate of poverty, high rate of school dropouts and low levels of education - and the role that a lack of opportunity plays in neighborhood crime. Fattah seized an early lead, and remained front-runner through much of the primary, until self funded former Deputy Mayor Tom Knox began an ad blitz back during Christmas that propelled him into the lead for most of the winter and spring. But now Knox has lost that lead to Michael Nutter. In the final weeks of the campaign, Fattah took the lead in attacking Nutter for his "stop and frisk" proposal.
Fattah is a well respected Congressman and will continue in that capacity if he is not successful here. He does have a large field organization, so he cannot be counted out. Unfortunately, Fattah is current Mayor Street's candidate and has enthusiastically endorse him, which is akin to a kiss from Michael Corleone. Fattah also has bad relations with NAACP President J. Whyatt Mondesire, and there's bad blood between Fattah and other African-American Democrats in Northwest Philadelphia. He angered the police union by saying publicly that Mumia Abu-Jamal deserves a new trial.
Race: African American
Job: Former City Councilman for the 4th Council District (he resigned to run for mayor.
Maritial Status and Family: Married with two children.
Proposals and Experience: First elected to city counsel in 1991, Nutter served four terms in Council representing a district that includes Overbrook, Manayunk and Roxborough. Nutter sponsored the city's ethics-reform bills, which would limit campaign contributions and require the identification of lobbyists for those seeking no-bid city contracts. He was also behind 2006's successful smoking ban.
Nutter came out with a crime plan early in the race that included a call for "stop and frisk" police procedures in high-crime areas, which attracted both praise for its toughness and concerns that it would infringe on citizens' rights. As stated above, he has been attacked by Fattah for this position. He also argued for a more ethical city goverment, ending the pay to play ethic that produced all of the Street Corruption scandals. He proposes lowering taxes, particularly on businesses, and for zoning reform and better business development. Nutter was the first candidate in the race, having left City Council to run in July, 2006, but he didn't move much in the polls until the last two months, when he aired an ad featuring his daughter. He has recently surged into the lead in the polls (the last poll results will be published below). Nutter has been endorsed by the Philadelphia Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Job: U.S. Congressman
Maritial Status: Married to his wife Debbie and has two grown children from a previous marriage.
Proposals and Experience: He is the Democratic boss of Philadelphia. The eight-year congressman and city Democratic chairman is famed for his mediation skills, his broad popularity among political insiders and an abilty to bridge's the city's racial divide. When SEPTA threatens a strike or two politicians are warring, Brady is usually found smoothing things over. He is everywhere in this city, even though he is supposed to be in D.C. most of the time. He is everyone's friend, and unfortunately that can lead to some tainted connections. He is tield to State Senator Vince Fumo, who faces indictment on corruption charges. He also has a hostile relationship with Electricians union boss John Dougherty, who himself considered a run for mayor.
Brady's campaign has been disjointed. He entered the race late, and had to fight off a serious ballot challenge brought by Evans and Knox after it was revealed that he left information about a city pension off his financial disclosures. He also endured an embarrasing flap over a Congressional aide who approached a local PR operative to run an off-the-books attack of Tom Knox. To his credit, Brady quickly fired the aide. There is also the impression, at least to me, that Brady is too connected to and involved in the pay to play politics of the past. His poll numbers are in the middle of the pack, but he is a viable candidate who can win due to a good ground game provided by his massive union support. He has also been endorsed by District Attorney Lynne Abraham, who herself is a powerful figure in Philadelphia.
Job: Former Deputy Mayor under Mayor (and now Gov.) Ed Rendell, and former CEO of United Healthcare.
Maritial Status and Family: Married, with two grown sons.
Proposals and Experience: The savvy self-made businessman - with an estimated multimillion-dollar fortune - served as a deputy mayor for management and productivity under Ed Rendell, and has claimed the city's successful financial and economic recovery during those years as his own accomplishment. Knox was credited with saving the city millions, but infuriated some city officials along the way. Thus, Knox truly can claim to be an outsider candidate who cannot be bought, and he has done so. He campaigns on the fact that only someone who cannot be bought can change the pay to play ethic in city government.
In the polls, after a self financed ad buy that carpet bombed Philadelphia airwaves all throughout Christmas and the New Year, Knox surged from 1 percent of the vote in July 2006 to the lead by January, 2007. His hold on the lead led other candiates - and independent groups -to launch attack ads at the end of the race. In the final days of the campaign, he publicly endorsed City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell for Council president in an effort to garner African American support. Knox has not picked up many significant endorsements, though he was endorsed by El Hispano, the bilingual weekly newspaper.
Last weeks' Keystone Poll had the following results:
Who does Daily Kos support as the next mayor of Philadelphia.