Big Day for Wannabe City Candidates

Thump! Thump!

That's the sound of the time stamp that is working in overdrive this morning as candidates for everything from Philadelphia traffic judge to mayor hand in their nominating petitions to Board of Election officials. (No, no sign of T. Milton Street yet.)

Some candidates got an early start by handing in theirs yesterday or last week - and issuing news releases to brag about the number of signatures they snagged. But the bulk of the possibly 100 aspirants for elected office will submit their paperwork today, before the official 5 p.m. deadline for doing so. The nominating petitions - they must contain either 750 or 1,000 valid signatures, depending on the office sought - are required for anyone seeking a spot on the May primary ballot.

So far, no major surprises, although some unexpected contenders for certain offices are sure to emerge - like Democrat Blair Talmadge making a second bid for City Commissioner.

The real fun - for candidates, lawyers and political consultants, anyway - begins tomorrow. That's when candidates and their supporters will start combing through the petitions of their political enemies in search of legal grounds to question the validity of those petitions - and prevent them from running for office. Those petition challenges are sure to last at least several weeks.

The next big date is March 16, when candidates will reach into a coffee can and pick out a number telling them what position they will get on the primary ballot. A high number generally leads some Council and judicial candidates to drop out almost immediately.

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