Wealthy businessman Tom Knox says he won't run for mayor in November - and has changed his voter registration back to Democrat from Independent.
Knox - who came in second to Nutter in the 2007 mayor's race - had switched to Independent before last month's primary. The reason, he said then, was so he would be positioned to challenge T. Milton Street Sr., Nutter's only rival, in case Street won.
Well, that didn't happen, so Knox this afternoon said he was keeping his word.
Knox also said former Mayor John F. Street, with whom he talks on a regular basis, is not interested in holding the job again - despite what John Street may otherwise say. "John Street has told me absolutely under no circumstances is he running for mayor."
Street did not immediately reply to an email.
Knox also said he is pinning his hopes on running for governor in 2014. He initially was going to run last year, but decided not to because, he said, of concerns by his wife that he would be away too much from home.
Accompanying Knox as he made his remarks was Nutter, who chimed in that it was he who provided Knox the voter registration form. To be sure, Knox said he supported Nutter for mayor.
Nutter did not go as far in saying he would support Knox for governor, though. "He and I will talk about that as the weeks and months, and years, go by. ... Today is really about what's going in 2011."
Although Knox and Nutter appeared as political chums in making this news, the pair don't have a tight past.
One of the low points of the 2007 mayoral race occurred when flyers were distributed outside at least two Catholic churches accusing Nutter of changing his religious beliefs for political reasons.
Nutter's response, as reported in a May 14, 2007 Inquirer story:
"It's clear to me, based on the other filthy literature Tom Knox has been mailing out, that this is clearly more of his nasty tactics," Nutter said, brushing off Knox's denial.
Then, standing in front of the Philadelphia Zoo, where he had gone to meet voters, Nutter put both hands in his pants pockets and calmly disparaged Knox in the most brutal language of the campaign.
"Tom Knox is a low life and a scumbag for being associated with this kind of vile, vicious kind of literature," he said. "It is an absolute insult to all churchgoers and Christians that this kind of literature is handed out in front of churches. All we are left to ask is this question: Tom Knox, have you no dignity?"
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