T. Milton Street, a former hot dog vendor, mayoral candidate and prison inmate who first got elected to the state House in 1978, will appear on North Philadelphia ballots next month with a shot at joining the legislature again.
Street submitted nominating petitions Monday with enough signatures to win an independent spot in the April 24th special election, to fill the House seat vacated by Jewell Williams, now the city sheriff. Street’s candidacy is still subject to challenge, but he cleared the first hurdle by collecting more than 335 signatures and turning them in to the state Election Bureau in Harrisburg.
Street, 72, had initially sought the Democratic nomination for the seat but he gave up that race in favor of running as an independent, which could allow him to serve the remaining seven months in Williams’s two-year term. His special election opponents, chosen by the ward leaders of the respective parties, are Democratic ward leader Gary Williams, 57 (no relation to Jewell), and Republican Steven Crum, 50, an actor.
Street, the colorful brother of former Mayor John Street, served a two-year term in the state House in 1979-80 and won a four-year term in the state Senate in 1980. He might have had the job for life, but he changed parties from Democrat to Republican and was trounced when he sought re-election in 1984.
Fresh off a federal prison term for failing to file tax returns after raking in money as a business consultant while his brother was mayor, Milton Street ran in the mayoral primary last May and won 25 percent of the citywide vote against Mayor Nutter.
“If I win I go straight to Harrisburg,” Street said in a telephone interview Tuesday. He said he was sorry to be missing the legislature’s current fight over voter ID requirements. “That’s about Obama, not anything else,” he said. But if elected, he said he would weigh in strongly against proposed cuts in education and social programs.