10 who may run for Verna's seat

Posted: January 25, 2011

CITY COUNCIL President Anna Verna's decision to retire when her term ends next January drew interest yesterday from at least 10 potential candidates for the May 17 Democratic primary.

_ Damon Roberts, 40, a real-estate attorney who challenged Verna four years ago, had already declared his intention to run, and has been campaigning.

_ Real-estate agent Barbara Capozzi, 57, says she is running and hopes to have Verna's endorsement. Capozzi serves on the Board of Revision of Taxes, and is president of the Packer Park Civic Association and treasurer for the Sports Complex Special Services District.

_ Marita Crawford, 41, is considering a run. She spent 10 years working for the Democratic City Committee and three years working for Councilman Bill Green in City Hall before leaving to help run his re-election campaign.

John Dougherty, head of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said his union will back Crawford if she decides to run.

_ State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson, 40, was just re-elected to a second term in the 186th Legislative District, which shares some of the same West and Southwest Philadelphia territory as Verna's 2nd Council district. "I haven't made up my mind at the moment," Johnson said about running. "I'm keeping my options open."

Johnson is a political ally of state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, of West Philadelphia.

_ Matt Myers, leader of South Philly's Ward 39-B and inheritance-tax chief for the Register of Wills, bought a condo last summer in Verna's district and will consider a run.

"A number of people have contacted me about taking a look at it," said Myers, 53, who also has close political ties with Local 98.

_ Richard DeMarco, 43, an attorney at Klehr Harrison and candidate for Common Pleas Court who worked on Verna's staff, said he is "definitely interested in running" for the seat.

_ Louis Borda, 44, a geography and history teacher at the J.R. Masterman School, said he intends to run this year.

_ Edward Thornton, 44, leader of Southwest Philly's Ward 40-A since 1998, and director of parking management for the Philadelphia Parking Authority, is exploring a run.

_ Vincent DeFino, 43, a lawyer who has served as president of the South Philadelphia Business Association and as treasurer for Seth Williams' campaign for district attorney, is also considering a run.

_ Basil Merenda, 53, who was secretary of state for the close of Gov. Rendell's second term and now works as a hearing examiner for the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, is considering a run for Verna's seat or for Commonwealth Court.

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