Mayor's race chatter at the Famous

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Mayor Michael Nutter, left, visits at Famous 4th Street Deli on Election Day in Philadelphia on November 4, 2014. ( DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer )

So, about that mayor’s race....

While the focus Tuesday was still on the final stretch of the Governor’s race, the political chatter included some discussion on the next big election: the 2015 mayor’s race.

The politicians and operatives who stopped by the Famous Fourth Street Deli — the traditional lunch spot for the city’s movers and shakers on Election Day — chimed in on the suspected mayoral candidates and the issues that could drive the race.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz, who is expected to officially announce his candidacy in the next few weeks, said the next mayor will either be him or Council President Darrell L. Clarke. (Clarke has not announced he is running.)

“I think everything will be clear in a matter of weeks,” Butkovitz said.

The controller, like many others elected officials, said education will be the top issue driving the mayor’s race and took a jab at State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, a likely opponent.

“If it turns out the battle is between Anthony Hardy Williams and me, I think there will be enough money spent and enough communications aired so the people of the city have a pretty clear idea of which direction they want to go,” Butkovitz said. “And the direction Tony Williams wants to go has been overwhelmingly repudiated by the people of Philadelphia.”

Williams is a supporter of charter schools and received a lot of support from the charter community when he ran for governor in 2010. The state senator also made his rounds at the Fourth Street deli on Tuesday and said that he doesn’t think the mayoral race will come down to “special interest” groups such as charters.

“Charters are just another item on the menu which parents have used to provide an educational experience for their children,” he said. “I don’t think this election will come down to special interest. I think it will come to what people see as most viable in the city of Philadelphia as a whole.”

Williams also wouldn’t say when, or if, he is announcing his candidacy.

“I will make those decisions based upon what I think Philadelphia needs and if Philadelphia is responsive to what I think it needs.”

Williams mentioned the economy and education as the top issues facing the city that he would like to see addressed in the mayor’s race.

Clarke, who many of the labor leaders have tried to convince to run for mayor, said he was focusing on “closing out” the governor’s race before discussing the mayor’s race.

“It’s probably my last day I will be able to get away with this,” Clarke quipped.

Mayor Nutter, who announced his candidacy more than a year before the elections in the 2007 race, said the 2015 race has been held back by the governor’s race.

“I would expect in the course of the next 30 or 45 days, the race should in fact take a whole lot of shape,” Nutter said. “You don’t just jump up one day and decide you are going to run for mayor of Philadelphia, the fifth largest city in America.”

Nutter, who said he’s not even clear on who will definitely be running for mayor, declined to say who he thinks will win. He said it take a lot of work, organization and money to run.

“It’s a totally wide open situation,” he said. “The way this has formed... it’s a very different environment than it was in 2006 and 2007.”

Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, who has said she will be running for mayor but has not made a formal announcement, was also at the deli lunching and mingling with the rest of the politicos. 

Interestingly, the two declared candidates (and lesser known) Terry Gillen and Ken Trujillo did not swing by the Famous for lunch Tuesday.

Trujillo’s camp suggested there wasn’t much to his non-appearance at Famous.

“He'll be on his radio station in the morning encouraging people to get out to vote then heading to York later in the day to be with folks at the Wolf campaign since he's on their finance committee,” Jane Slusser, a spokeswoman for Trujillo’s campaign, said.

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