Taubenberger hangs on 'til the end

After casting his ballot, Republican mayoral candidate Al Taubenberger greeting constituent Lorraine Shilton at the Engine 56 firehouse at Verree and Rhawn Streets.

Even though he campaigned against a Democrat who was pronounced the "presumptive mayor" months ago, Republican Al Taubenberger did not give up until the end ltonight.

From morning into night, he crisscrossed the city, visiting polling places to press the flesh and ask people for their votes.

And he did it with a smile and humor.

Nightfall found Taubenberger in the Northeast, his home turf, where he handed out what he called his "baseball card."

"These might be a collector's item," he said, handing out one card. "Or they might be a great bookmark."

Time and time again, he introduced himself to voters, saying, "I'm Al Taubenberger, the other guy running for mayor."

"I'm number 215 on the ballot - same as the mayor's room at City Hall."

Or, he would say, "We need a mayor from Northeast Philadelphia - someone who knows where Roosevelt Boulevard is."

Or, he might add, "Welsh Road" or "Brous Avenue."

At the voting place for the Ninth Division in the 57th Ward - a garage in a home on Welsh Road - poll worker Michael Ragan said Taubenberger was the first candidate to visit there in 20 years.

"Hopefully the next mayor will listen to him," Ragan said. "Nutter will be the kind of guy to do that."

At the Pollock Elementary School down the road, Frank and BethAnn Marczak were pleased to meet Taubenberger after voting for him.

"I think that's great," she said. "I like to meet my mayoral candidate."

At a polling station on Brous Avenue, Taubenberger posed for pictures with poll workers and some of their children.

"I'm honored that you consider me a Kodak moment," he said.

"I think he did a wonderful job on the campaign," Mary Pease said at the firehouse at Rhawn Street and Verree Road, where Taubenberger's wife, Joanne, was handing out literature with their hungry 8-year-old son, William.

"I was impressed with how you ran it," Pease said.

Joanne Taubenberger shivered in the cold. "I should have told him to bring me a Dunkin' Donuts coffee," she said.

Then she addressed the campaign. "He's going strong. He's definitely enthusiastic. I don't know how he does it," she said.

Taubenberger, who spent only about $100,000 on his campaign, said it was a wonderful experience.

"I went everywhere. I got to know the city pretty well. And I got to know a lot of people.

"I think it has gone well. Wherever I go, I'm well received. For such a small amount of money, I think I was able to mount a credible campaign.

"I think I might be the only mayoral candidate in the history of Philadelphia who can say he enjoyed it immensely."


Contact staff writer Joseph A. Gambardello at 215-854-2153 or jgambardello@phillynews.com.