DA to back Nutter; will State Sen. Williams?


Mayor Nutter and District Attorney Seth Williams have not always been the closest of friends.

Which makes it all the more interesting that Williams is one of the mayor's earliest and biggest backers for re-election.

Outside the Criminal Justice Center tomorrow morning, the district attorney is scheduled to appear with Nutter and officially back him for a second term in May's Democratic primary election.

That happens to be the same spot where Nutter in 2007, a few weeks before his swearing-in, announced that Williams - whose "good work" he praised - would be replaced as the city's then-inspector general by career federal prosecutor Amy Kurland.

Tomorrow's event will be the second major endorsement announcement by the Nutter campaign. Just before the New Year, the campaign said Philadelphia's three U.S. House representatives - Bob Brady, Allyson Schwartz and Chaka Fattah - threw their support behind Nutter.

"We are pleased to have some very respected leaders in our community coming out to say they support the mayor and giving him a vote of confidence for the next term," said Sheila Simmons, Nutter's campaign spokeswoman.

Nutter has so far drawn no official primary challenger, though the name of one possible candidate - besides that of wealthy businessman Tom Knox - has yet to fade and is in fact picking up steam: State Sen. Anthony Williams, who last year ran for governor.

Last week, former Mayor John F. Street, who has been openly recruiting candidates to run against his rival, Nutter, sad Williams "is really serious about running for Mayor in 2011 primary."

The presence of Williams, who is African American, in the primary could open the door for an independent candidate - such as Knox - looking to take advantage of a split in the black vote between Nutter and Williams.

So is Williams in? "Too early to tell," he said this afternoon. 
"Are people talking to me about it, and aggressively? Yes," the senator said. "Am I listening to them? Yes I am."
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