Dem Knox hires GOP firm for Philly mayor race

Tom Knox will run for mayor again, after losing in the 2007 primary. (AP Photo / George Widman)

Democrat Tom Knox, a candidate for Philadelphia mayor in 2015, has hired top Republican firm Brabender Cox to provide strategic advice and run his advertising campaign.

It is at first blush an odd-couple pairing, and those in city political circles have taken notice.

Knox, a multimillionaire businessman who served as a deputy mayor for management at the beginning of Ed Rendell’s City Hall years, ran in the Democratic primary for mayor in 2007, finishing second to current Mayor Michael Nutter.

“John Brabender is one of the most respected, experienced and successful political campaign strategists in the country,” Knox said in a statement announcing the move. “John and his team will be closely involved with every aspect of our campaign for mayor.  It’s great to have them on board.”

Brabender Cox was the media firm for conservative former Sen. Rick Santorum (R.,Pa.), both in his statewide races and when he ran for the GOP nomination for president in 2012.

“My own political leanings are moderate,” Brabender, the firm’s managing partner and creative director, said.  “What attracted our firm to Tom Knox’s candidacy was his somewhat rare combination of being socially liberal, yet fiscally responsible.  Those are the characteristics that Philadelphia needs in its next leader.  As a product of the city’s housing projects, Tom has great empathy for the city’s poor and underprivileged.  As an accomplished businessman, Tom understands the importance of managing a budget and reducing waste and overhead.”