8th Ward Leader Likely to Run for City Election Commission

In 2008, Stephanie Singer successfully ran as a "reformer" to win election as leader of Center City's 8th ward.

Now Singer is toying with running for a citywide position for the controversial city election commission.

"I am not publicly declaring my candidacy, but I would put the odds at 99 percent," said Singer, who today said she is in the process of forming a political committee to raise money.

Her entrance into the race would mean both sitting Democratic city commissioners - Chairwoman and nine-termer Marge Tartaglione and first-termer Anthony Clark - would face challengers. In September, Ivy Staten - the niece of Laborers Local 332 business manager Sam Staten Sr. - announced she would also run in May's primary.

In the primary races, each party nominates two candidates for city commissioner. The winners are the top three vote getters in the general election - generally two Democrats and one Republican.

"Someone's got to bring that office into the 21st century, and I'd love to be the one to do it," said Singer, who oversees electronic data matters for a real-estate management firm named Athenian Properties.

The city commission comes under attack during most election seasons for one reason or another. But the criticism has grown especially sharp as of late - particularly with the sudden departure last month of Tartaglione's daughter, Renee Tartaglione, the agency's chief deputy, after the city Ethics Board reported on her active political life. That was in violation of Philadelphia's city charter.

The nonprofit Committee of Seventy has also agitated for an improved city commission web site, and a more transparent election process overall.

Singer says she is up to the task.

Since 2008, she has run a web site, www.campaignscientific.com, that publishes Philadelphia election results - and in a way that is searchable ward by ward or division-by-division - and fast. "It’s no joke to run elections, and it’s no joke to make two elections a year happen," Singer said. "I have great respect for the folks who are doing that, but I think a lot more can be done."

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