Nutter Kicks Off 2011 Fundraising in Style

He had crabcakes and cocktails, but where was the love from City Council?

Mayor Nutter kicked off his 2011 campaign fundraising tonight in an elegant room high up in the new Comcast Center. PhillyClout can report that crowd was packed with bold-faced names, including ex-Guv (and new Daily News columnist) Ed Rendell, Comcast Executive David L. Cohen, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, District Attorney Seth Williams and music mogul-turned developer Kenny Gamble.

Nutter pumped up the crowd – who paid $1,000 per individual or $5,000 per political committee to attend – with a speech about how the city was looking ahead to better days.

“We have been through some tough times. We’re on the way back though,” he said. “We are poised to participate in the economic recovery that is coming.”

But the only City Council member that we could see in the crowd for Nutter's speech was Councilman Bill Green – who has publicly toyed with running for mayor himself, although he is not expected to run this year.

PhillyClout wondered if Green’s appearance was some kind of statement that he definitely will not run for mayor. But he brushed us off when we asked him to talk and later ducked out of the room. Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown showed up later in the event, increasing Nutter’s Council attendance. (UPDATE: Green later called us to check in, but we missed him. We will update in the AM if he has anything to add.)

With over 100 people in the room, Nutter was hoping to pull in the big bucks. Campaign finance reports for 2010 were due yesterday and Nutter’s numbers were a tad lackluster. He ended the year with $1.25 million on hand, which is slightly less than the $1.33 million that he had at the beginning of the year.

One idea to pump up fundraising? Another ad featuring Nutter’s teenage daughter Olivia, like her famous 2007 commercial. So far it has not been clear if Olivia will do another such turn this time around. Nutter joked about her possible campaign participation during his speech.

“Olivia is too busy to be here tonight,” Nutter said amidst laughter. “She’s 15 going on 16….she’s now negotiating her 2011 deal with the campaign.”

While the event was for Nutter, other political hopefuls were working the room. Two candidates looking to succeed Council President Anna Verna in the 2nd Councilmanic District were in attendence – State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson and real estate agent Barbara Capozzi.

Johnson, who said he was running, said he wanted to focus on providing more government access to neighborhood residents. “I feel great,” he said of his chances.

And Capozzi, who says she expects support from the retiring Verna, said she’d like to see more business development in the district.

“There’s too many vacant properties,” she said. “There’s too much blight.”