IT LOOKS likely that the May 17 Democratic primary election will be a rematch between Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez and the man she defeated in 2007, Dan Savage.
But will she be the only Maria Sanchez on the ballot?
City Hall is aswirl with rumors that Carlos Matos, who heads the 19th Democratic Ward and backed Savage in 2007 and plans to support him again, is recruiting a woman named Maria Sanchez to challenge the councilwoman.
The thinking: A second Sanchez could siphon votes away from the incumbent by confusing voters, helping Savage win.
Quinones-Sanchez said that Savage "one-on-one can't beat me" without Matos and the Tartaglione family.
Matos is married to Renee Tartaglione-Matos, sister of state Sen. Tina Tartaglione and daughter of City Commission Chairwoman Marge Tartaglione.
"All this says to me is they think my community is not smart enough to know who Maria Quinones-Sanchez is and the hard work that she does," she said.
Matos yesterday denied that he was trying to recruit another Maria Sanchez, saying he was "not that clever" and didn't have the money to finance a candidate "to steal votes."
"If you've got the money and want to play those kinds of games, that's a beautiful thing to do," Matos said. "I don't have that kind of money. If someone else wants to do it, that has nothing to do with me."
There is a Democratic committeewoman named Maria Sanchez in Matos' ward - she goes by Midge - but she told us there is no way she was running against the councilwoman.
Quinones-Sanchez took 52 percent of the primary vote in 2007 while Savage, a ward leader who won a 2006 special election after Councilman Rick Mariano went to federal prison on corruption charges, got 41 percent.
Savage yesterday said that he knew nothing about the candidate-recruitment rumors. He will announce soon if he will challenge Quinones-Sanchez in the primary.
Election Tuesday for 185th
The state will hold a special election Tuesday to fill the state House seat for the 185th District, which stretches from Broad Street and Passyunk Avenue in South Philly southeast into Delaware County's Darby Township.
State Rep. Robert Donatucci, who held the seat for 30 years and won re-election in November by a 5-to-1 ratio, died Nov. 9 from complications due to sleep apnea.
His widow, Maria Donatucci, was selected by party leaders in the city and Delaware County to run for the seat. She had worked in the city's Bureau of Administrative Adjudication since 1997.
Donatucci is worried that Gov. Corbett's administration will cut funding to municipalities, especially for education and services for the elderly. She hopes to lend her voice to those causes.
"The whole thing is I would like to continue my husband's legacy," Donatucci said. "He was up there 30 years and did a lot of good for people."
The Republican in the race, community activist Lewis Harris, did not respond to requests for comment.
The 185th, like all of the House's 203 districts, has about 60,000 residents. How many will turn out for a special election is an open question. Snow is once again forecast for Tuesday.
Maria Donatucci's brother-in-law, Register of Wills and 26th Ward leader Ron Donatucci, said Democrats led an effort to send out nearly 700 absentee ballots and signed up more than 300 new voters in the process.
South Philly Council free-for-all
The 1st and 2nd District City Council seats, which represent South Philly, Center City and the lower river wards, have drawn a crowd this election season.
The 1st District, represented by Councilman Frank DiCicco, lost one candidate and gained two more this week.
Attorney Mike Boyle, leader of the 5th Democratic Ward, dropped his bid for the seat.
Dan Stevenson, brother of Brian Stevenson, a business agent for Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said he will challenge DiCicco and has the union's support. Union leader John Dougherty last year pushed Stevenson for a top public-safety job at the Delaware River Port Authority.
Whitman Council President Mark Squilla also said he would run against DiCicco, who has four other declared challengers.
We told you Tuesday about 10 people who are thinking about or committed to a run for the 2nd District, now that Council President Anna Verna is retiring.
Add one more name. And a twist. Former state Rep. Harold James says he is thinking about getting into the race. The man who bumped him from office in 2008, state Rep. Kenyatta Johnson, also might run.
Will that give James a chance at revenge with Johnson?
"That's what I'm looking at," James told us this week.
"I look at the concept of love and I look at the concept of evil, and I don't think that either of them were part of my standards. I think accomplishments, numerical and statistical measurements of accomplishment - I had success or failure, as opposed to love and evil."
- Former Philadelphia Housing Authority Executive Director Carl Greene, attempting to explain his management style in the issue of Philadelphia magazine that hits newsstands today.
Have tips or suggestions? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or e-mail
Check out the Clout blog at: