State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams told PhillyClout this morning that he is preparing to run for governor in the May 18 Democratic primary election. Williams said his decision to run came after he had a long conversation Friday with staffers and supporters of Philadelphia businessman Tom Knox, who dropped out of the race that day. Williams said it he found it "very frustrating" that Knox, the only Philadelphia candidate in the race, dropped out. The discussion on Friday focused on issues like poverty and prison overcrowding, things that Williams feared would be "glossed over" in the race without a candidate from the city.
"I was struggling with what to do. Do I endorse somebody? Do I wait for the primary to be over? Do I get engaged," Williams said of the conversation. "After my soliloquy, somebody said: Why don't you run? I thought they were joking."
The talk quickly turned to practical matters -- circulating petitions for candidacy and fund-raising for the effort. Williams said his run should not be interpreted as a knock on the other Democrats in the race: Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, state Auditor General Jack Wager, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel and Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty. It's more about a concern that issue of concern to minorities don't adequately get addressed in statewide races, he said.
"I'm tired of waiting," Williams said. "You don't necessarily have to be black to do that. But you have to represent change."
Williams was in the news recently with the death of his father, former state Sen. Hardy Williams. Williams said he didn't consider the timing of a gubernatorial run so close to the death of his father but has been thinking about he would have handled the concerns about the race. "That has come to me during this process," he said.