THERE'S NO SHORTAGE of potential candidates being floated for the 2015 race for mayor.
The latest name: city Managing Director Richard Negrin.
One prominent City Hall lobbyist said Negrin met with him to discuss the 2015 race.
"He is indeed exploring a run," the lobbyist said.
And several Philly politicos said members of Negrin's staff talk about him considering it.
"I've heard it from his people, the ones who go with him everywhere," says a City Hall source.
Negrin denied he is exploring a run for elected office and said he has not initiated conversations on the subject - but his phrasing has us thinking there's probably more to the story.
"I'm not thinking about anything else right now except being the best possible managing director I can possibly be," Negrin said. "That's all that I'm focused on. We have a lot of time between now and the end of this term."
But will he rule it out?
"It's too early to rule in or rule out. I'm not even going to engage in the conversation," Negrin replied. "I think it's disrespectful to your mayor to be talking about this when you're in the administration."
The son of Cuban immigrants, Negrin has a compelling story to tell: He witnessed his father's murder when he was 5; he was an All-American football player in college; and he kicked off his impressive legal career as a prosecutor.
And Negrin has a place to tell that story. A staffer in his office registered the names of six websites in July 2010, using variations on Negrin's name, including RichNegrin.com. Those websites currently redirect visitors to the city's managing director's site.
While most potential candidates in 2015 are gunning for support from ward leaders and organized labor - no fans of Mayor Nutter these days - Negrin would seem a natural fit to carry the mayor's baton.
The last managing director to become mayor was W. Wilson Goode Sr., whose junior, a councilman, is rumored to be a potential 2015 candidate. Senior was the No. 2 under Mayor Bill Green III, whose IV is yet another councilman said to be mulling a run.
Would Nutter back Negrin?
The mayor "has no interest in playing silly speculation games," Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald said.
Epithets & accusations
The Democratic City Committee's annual Jefferson-Jackson cocktail party is designed to rally the troops before an election.
With the Democratic primary election for city controller drawing most of the interest on Tuesday's ballot, John Dougherty took the microphone at the party Monday and let fly some colorful language and an accusation.
Dougherty, a ward leader and head of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, is backing Alan Butkovitz's bid for a third term. In a tirade that quieted the normally raucous crowd, Dougherty repeatedly referred to challenger Brett Mandel as a "piece of s---."
Dougherty told the hundreds of Democrats in the hall that Mandel, who finished third in the 2009 Democratic primary for controller, offered twice during Pennsylvania Society in New York City in December to stay out of the race if Dougherty helped him land a job on Butkovitz's staff.
"He not only wanted a job," Dougherty said later, "he wanted a secretary, too."
Mandel flatly denies that.
"No, no, no, never happened," said Mandel, adding that Dougherty's colorful language is "not ever worth commenting on."
We reported last month that Butkovitz and Mandel sat down in February 2012, in a meeting arranged by state Sen. Larry Farnese. They all agree that a proposal was made for Mandel to take a job with Butkovitz to avoid a rematch of the 2009 primary.
No deal was struck that day. Butkovitz said Mandel made the offer and he rejected it. Mandel said he can't remember who came up with the idea but that it didn't make any sense to him.
As Traffic Court turns
This may come as a shock . . . but more than half of the 27 people seeking three open seats on Philadelphia Traffic Court this year have failed to follow state law about reporting on their campaign finances.
You would think judicial candidates would be in favor of the law. But maybe not for Traffic Court, where nine current or former judges were charged with federal crimes on Jan. 31 as part of a massive ticket-fixing scheme.
With the primary election Tuesday, campaign-finance reports were due this past Monday. Candidates who raised or spent less than $250 had to file a form. Candidates who raised or spent more had to file a full report.
Thirteen Democrats and one Republican didn't bother.
They are: Warren Bloom, Suzanne Harmon-Carn, Bobbie Curry, David Mamikonyan, Bruce Bailey, Ryan Mulvey, Ashley Michelle Cook, Kyle Sampson, Marnie Aument Loughery, Robert Tuerk, Keith Jackson, Sharif Ali, James Johnson and Chris Vogler.
The state House is expected to consider in the first week of June two bills, approved by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, to abolish Traffic Court and fold its duties into Municipal Court.
- Staff writer Sean Collins Walsh
contributed to this report.
On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN