Philly 3.0 backs young City Council candidates

Philly 3.0, the independent expenditure group rumored to have a few million dollars to back City Council candidates, is endorsing a slate of six candidates, five of them non-incumbents.

Of the city's 10 district council members, only Seventh District Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez got the backing of the group, which released its endorsements Monday night. None of the four sitting Council at-large members were endorsed by the group.

Philly 3.0 is backing Democratic at-large candidates Tom Wyatt, a partner at Dilworth Paxson; Paul Steinke, the former manager of Reading Terminal Market; Derek Green, a former legislative aide to Councilwoman Marian Tasco; and Isaiah Thomas, a charter school dean and athletic director.

Of the Republicans, Terry Tracy, a former executive at Ralph Lauren who ran for City Controller in 2012, will have their support.

As an independent expenditure, Philly 3.0 does not have to adhere to campaign finance limits and it has said its donors won't be made public. Parkway Corp. principals Joseph and Robert Zuritsky, however, are known to be behind the endeavor.

Philly 3.0 will not say how much money it will spend on the campaign, but a large amount could make a difference in the crowded at-large race of 21 Democrats eyeing five seats and seven Republicans vying for two.

Candidates seeking endorsements from the independent expenditure submitted questionnaires and then met with the group's seven-person committee to discuss strengths, experience, and policy ideas.

Alison Perelman, a spokeswoman for the group who also sat on the selection committee, said Philly 3.0 reviewed 21 questionnaires and met with 19 candidates.

Support for the slate of slightly younger candidates is not surprising.

On its website the group notes not a single member of Council is younger than 41, three members have been in office more than 24 years, and four have occupied the same seat for 20 years.

Perelman declined to say how much money the group has raised or whether there will be Philly 3.0-sponsored TV ads in the future.

"We're not going to talk about our strategy at this point," Perelman said. "But I would say we hope to have a significant and meaningful impact on the race in an effort to get these candidates who we are backing a better chance of getting elected."

jterruso@phillynews.com

215-854-5506 @juliaterruso