Clout: Relative unknown to GOP: 'How about me' for Senate?

Posted: July 22, 2011

MARC SCARINGI and his

old boss, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, have the same problem: Both are seeking elective office next year but trail badly in early polls and fundraising.

Scaringi wants Santorum's old

U.S. Senate seat, which Santorum lost in a 2006 landslide to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. Santorum now wants to be president.

Republican voters in Pennsylvania, it seems, would rather have Santorum take on Casey in a rematch. Public Policy Polling this week announced that 47 percent of the 376 registered Republicans it surveyed two weeks ago want Santorum to run for the Senate.

One hiccup: Santorum, who took heat in 2006 for living full-time in Virginia, is running for president from that state.

Scaringi, who went from Santorum's campaign and then Senate office to the campaigns of former state Attorney General Mike Fisher before quitting politics 10 years ago, barely registers with his party's voters.

The poll found that 87 percent of those polled have not heard of Scaringi, the only Republican in the race so far.

A generic "someone else/not sure" candidate came in at 18 percent when GOP voters were asked who should run for the Senate. That was second place, behind Santorum.

Santorum's campaign did not respond to a request yesterday for comment about the poll.

Scaringi, who is reaching out to tea-party groups across the state in the hope of building grass-roots momentum, knows that Rob Gleason, the state Republican Party chairman, is seeking a wealthy candidate who can self-fund a Senate campaign.

He says that the party has to find a candidate by Labor Day to get a campaign moving in time.

"By now, you should have found your candidate," Scaringi told us yesterday. "If no one else is stepping up, how about me? I've been running for nine months."

A new GOP mayoral nominee?

Joe McColgan, a Republican candidate for City Council at-large on the Nov. 8 general-election ballot, tells us that a group of ward leaders has asked him to consider running for mayor.

The GOP already has a nominee: Karen Brown, the Democratic Party committeewoman recruited by leaders of the Republican City Committee this year.

Brown would have to step down as the nominee and then ward leaders would have to select McColgan as a replacement.

She says that won't happen.

"I think he realizes he doesn't have much of a chance getting onto Council," Brown said.

McColgan sat down two weeks ago to discuss a mayoral run with Michael Meehan, the Republican City Committee general counsel, and then with Gleason, the GOP state chairman.

Gleason says that he won't get involved in the mayor's race.

Meehan, who hosted a fundraiser for Brown last week, doesn't see her getting out.

"I meet with a lot of people who have a lot of big dreams," Meehan said of McColgan. "The only thing it would do is increase his profile a little bit because right now he's sitting in third" among the five at-large Republican candidates.

McColgan, who tells us that he would run for both mayor and Council, finished third in the May 17 primary election. He was well behind attorney David Oh and state Rep. Denny O'Brien. Two at-large Council seats are set aside for candidates who are not in the majority party, meaning that two Republicans usually win the seats.

McColgan said that this is no bid to boost his name recognition.

"I can't say we're doing it," he said. "I can't say we're not doing it. I don't know where it goes."

Nutter's top-secret getaway

Are sunny skies and sandy beaches in Mayor Nutter's immediate future?

We hear it's vacation time for hizzoner, who is expected to be out of the office for the next two weeks. Through a spokesman, Nutter declined to say where he was going, calling it "private family time." We don't begrudge the mayor a holiday, but think that if the president tells the public where he goes when he's out of town, the mayor could do the same.

Last summer, Nutter went to Mexico and the year before to Aruba. We'd stake out the finest tropical resorts but, alas, budget issues keep us at home.

Brown, Nutter's GOP opponent, pledged to always tell us where she was vacationing if elected mayor. Why do we believe her? Because she called us from Bermuda, where she, too, is enjoying sun, sand and surf.

On the agenda:

Philadelphians for Ethical Leadership is hosting a "citywide forum on public integrity" at the main branch of the Free Library, 1901 Vine St., on Wednesday, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Guest speakers are FBI Special Agent John Roberts; Patrick Blessington, chief of special investigations for the District Attorney's Office; and Harvey Rice, from the City Controller's Office.

Quotable:

"My lawyers believe that we had a strong set of provable facts that would have shown significant irregularities in the election. Our legal team will determine next steps."

- Barbara Capozzi, after a judge this week tossed out of court her challenge to the results of the Democratic primary for a district City Council seat.

Have tips or suggestions? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or email

brennac@phillynews.com.

Check out the Clout blog at:

www.phillyclout.com and follow on Twitter @ChrisBrennanDN.


Have a news tip? Gossip? Suggestion? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or Catherine Lucey at 215-854-4712. Or e-mail phillyclout@phillynews.com.

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