The Katz Is In The Bag

Posted: June 07, 1991

Calling him a man with a "proven record of accomplishment" in "finances, in crime and in the management of the city," Sam Katz yesterday endorsed GOP primary winner Frank Rizzo and promised to help his campaign in any way needed.

Katz, who pulled 28 percent of the Republican vote with a campaign based largely on his financial expertise, offers Rizzo a credible ally as the former mayor begins an uphill fight against Democratic nominee Edward Rendell.

In a joint news conference at Rizzo's campaign headquarters, Katz repeatedly skirted reporters' questions about Rizzo's fiscal record, but he admitted that he differs from Rizzo on some issues, such as privatizing city services.

"If I'm elected mayor, there'll be no private contractors," Rizzo said. ''The city will continue to provide the services."

Katz, who trumpeted "competitive contracting" of services as a candidate, said he now has an opportunity to try to influence Rizzo's views on the issue.

Rendell has said he would consider privatizing some services.

Politically, Katz's early endorsement is a clear signal that he intends to remain a Republican.

Katz, a municipal-finance consultant, was a Democrat most of his life, but in 1987 he supported both of the current nominees for mayor. He backed Rendell's primary challenge to Mayor Goode, then endorsed Republican Rizzo in the fall election.

"Ed Rendell is a fine guy," Katz said yesterday, "and I'm a Republican, and it was my intention as everyone knows from covering my campaign for mayor to be a Republican now and in the future."

Katz has some fence-mending to do with some party leaders who regard him as a spoiler who took votes away from party-backed candidate Ronald D. Castille.

"He ruined our best shot at winning the mayor's office in 40 years," Castille said in an interview yesterday, "I guess Sam has become a politician."

John Perzel, a state representative and Republican ward leader, said Katz was doing the right thing for himself and the GOP.

"We have to think of the future," Perzel said, "and we need people like Sam Katz in this party."

Meanwhile, new figures released by city election officials yesterday show that Rizzo's margin over Castille was larger than the 877 votes that separated the two immediately after the election.

The numbers show Rizzo with 47,523 votes, Castille with 46,094, for a margin of 1,429, or about 1.1 percent. Officials say those will be the certified results unless the examination of voting machines tomorrow reveals discrepancies.

Castille declined yesterday to concede the election, saying he would wait for a look at the machines.

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