Bill to change 'resign to run' law introduced

Councilman David Oh today introduced a bill that would change the city's "resign to run" law to make it easier for city officials to run for office in Harrisburg or Washington. 

Oh's proposal, which would require voter approval of a change to the Home Rule Charter, would get rid of the requirement that elected officials resign their current office once they commit to running for a different position. 

Councilman David Oh.

Oh said that he believes Philadelphia needs a stronger voice in Harrisburg and that his bill will encourage the city's top-tier politicians to consider those offices. 

"Our city is the most important city in Pennsylvania," said Oh, who is touting positive reactions from the Committee of Seventy and the Board of Ethics for this proposal. "We need more political power and more political say."

"Resign to run" is often discussed when Council members are rumored to be candidates in a mayor's race. Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilmen Jim Kenney, Bill Green and others have been rumored to be weighing a run in 2015.

This proposal, however, would not impact the next mayor's race for two reasons.

First, Oh specifically included a provision that would not make the Charter change effective until 2016. 

Second, the bill does not allow candidates to seek two different offices at the same time. In other words, Council members would have to resign their office at the end of the their current terms regardless of whether they win the mayor's race. 

Use Clarke's case as a hypothetical, the Council president would still have to commit to giving up the presidency and losing his seat on Council in the event that he loses the mayor's race. 

It could open the door, however, for district attorneys or city controllers who want to run for mayor, since their elections are on a different cycle. D.A. Seth Williams and Controller Alan Butkovtiz have also been rumored to be eyeing the Mayor's Office in the past. 

State and federal elections are also on a different cycle, meaning any City Council member, mayor, D.A. or controller could run for those offices without leaving their city office.