Philly GOP Has No Candidate To Endorse For Mayor

The Philadelphia Republican City Committee will not endorse a candidate for mayor when it meets this evening, even though a member of the party has been running since June. Local GOP Chairman Vito Canuso today confirmed that there would be no recommendation for mayor at the endorsement meeting but declined to comment about unsuccessful party efforts to recruit a candidate.

John Featherman, a GOP committeeman from Chinatown, announced in June his campaign for mayor, making clear he was part of a Republican faction that wants to challenge the leadership of Canuso and Michael Meehan, the party's general counsel.

Brett Mandel, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for City Controller in 2009, confirmed today that Al Taubenberger and former state Rep. George Kenney last week asked him to consider switching parties to run for mayor as a Republican.  Taubenberger was the GOP nominee who faced Michael Nutter in the 2007 General Election. Mandel turned down the GOP.

"The fact that nobody would want to use that position as a platform to expand their name in the Republican Party says something about what the Republican Party is up against," Mandel said.

Rick Hellberg, a financial adviser who challenged U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah last year, said he told Canuso and Meehan yesterday that he would not be running for mayor.  Gene Cohen, a retired Common Pleas Court judge now in private practice, said he had a "fleeting thought" of running for mayor but then passed.  Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Equality Forum, was approached to run but declined, several sources said. Lazin, who is expected to be endorsed by the GOP for City Council at large, declined to comment.

"They certainly are looking," Taubenberger said today of GOP leaders in search for a candidate for mayor. "It would be a very good opportunity for someone to get their message out and to get to know the city."

Taubenberger, who is also expected to be endorsed by the GOP for City Council at large, said he expects his campaign for mayor four years ago will help him in this election cycle.  But Taubenberger said a run for mayor requires a sacrifice of time and hard work.