Katz not running for mayor, but Green may well be

Mayor Nutter, left, won't face Sam Katz, upper right. But he could face Councilman Bill Green, right-center. Tom Knox, right-bottom, is waiting until Feb. 1 to declare if he will be a candidate.

MAYOR NUTTER can't catch a break. Just as one political problem was put to rest yesterday, two more popped up.

Sam Katz, the Republican-turned-Democrat who was once a Nutter fan but who spent the past six months talking about challenging him in May's Democratic-primary election, said yesterday that he would not launch a run for mayor next year.

But Councilman Bill Green, Nutter's most vocal critic in City Hall, confirms that he is now considering a run.

And millionaire Tom Knox, who finished second to Nutter in the 2007 Democratic primary, may be up for a rematch.

Green has previously said that he would not run for mayor but now is keeping track of the "moving parts" in the 2011 race.

"At this point, I think it's fair to say that it's a consideration," Green said of a campaign. "But there are other people out there who are considering running."

Green last week said there was a mystery candidate he planned to support, but yesterday dodged questions about whether Katz was that candidate. He stressed that he was frustrated with Nutter's performance as mayor.

"It's clear that I think that Mayor Nutter has not done the job we all thought he would do in 2008," said Green, who would not say if he had a time frame to decide if he would run for mayor. Green also said that next year might not be the right time for a run for mayor.

"I think it makes far more sense for me to consider whether I want to run in 2015," Green said. "I have a clear vision and direction I think the city should go in."

Scott Freda, finance director for Nutter's re-election campaign, said yesterday that he would comment on challengers when and if someone enters the race.

"Right now, the mayor is focused on being mayor," Freda said. "His priorities are increasing jobs, keeping crime down and a variety of other issues."

Freda last week responded to Green's criticism of Nutter by suggesting that if the first-term councilman was so concerned, he should resign and run for mayor, "because that's what leaders do."

Knox said yesterday that he might wait until Feb. 1 to declare if he will be a candidate.

"Everything happens in the last three months," Knox said of the mayoral race.

Knox, who previously said he would not run if Katz ran, also spoke highly of Green.

"I like Bill," Knox said. "He's a great guy. He'd make a good mayor. I could support him."

Katz said in a statement yesterday that he has heard from many people who feel "angst about the city's lack of direction" on issues like public safety, cost of living, jobs and education.

Katz, who ran three times for mayor as a Republican, called for new leadership in City Hall.

"Many of those I discussed my possible candidacy with feel that leadership and vision are lacking at this critical time," Katz said.

Yesterday, when asked if he might run as a Republican in the 2011 general election, Katz said he was "not ruling anything out," but the chances are "pretty slim."

"In 1991, I ruled out ever running again," said Katz, who ran for mayor again in 1999 and 2003. "After that, I decided to stop ruling anything out."