Clout: Putting a Latin spin on '15 mayoral race

Ken Trujillo
Ken Trujillo
Posted: March 01, 2013

THE FIELD of potential 2015 candidates for mayor now includes two former city solicitors who served Mayor John Street: Ken Trujillo and Nelson Diaz.

They may have held the same job, but they're not going about their politics the same way.

Diaz sounds as if he's positioning himself as the Latino candidate, while Trujillo sounds more like the candidate who happens to be Latino. If we had to bet today who will get into the race, our money would be on Trujillo.

An attorney and former member of the state Gaming Control Board, Trujillo has also been building himself a Spanish-language media empire in Philly since late 2011.

He purchased WHAT (1340- AM), then added the local television affiliate for Azteca America, and next week he plans to release the beta version of his new online news website, MiPhilly. com.

In short, Trujillo looks as if he has the resources to slog through a long and crowded campaign.

"I've been getting an awful lot of requests and encouragement from people I know and respect to run for mayor," said Trujillo. "I'm taking steps to do just that."

Two years before the Democratic-primary election, Trujillo already has hired political consultant Ken Snyder, who worked for Street, former state Sen. Vince Fumo and former Gov. Ed Rendell.

Look for the issue of gun violence to play a starring role in the campaign. Trujillo, as city solicitor, unsuccessfully sued gun manufacturers, claiming that they were creating a public nuisance.

Diaz, a former Common Pleas judge and official for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, says that a group of Latino leaders, including former City Councilman Angel Ortiz, are trying to draft him to run for mayor. He wants proof that they can raise enough campaign cash to be competitive.

"I told them that unless they raise me $1 million, I'm not getting into any race," Diaz said. "If you don't see the money, you don't get into the race."

Ortiz later said that Diaz was just joking about the $1 million.

He sounded serious to us.

Speaking of 2015 . . .

Happy birthday to state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, who turned 56 Thursday and celebrated by having lunch with District Attorney Seth Williams.

They go way back but are not related. Seth was an intern in Tony's office when he was a state representative. People used to confuse them for brothers.

The two pols spent lunch talking about ways they can use their offices to combat gun violence in the city. Naturally, the 2015 race came up as well.

Seth Williams, who always has nice things to say about Councilman Jim Kenney, another potential candidate for mayor, said he could not imagine supporting anyone but Tony Williams if he gets into the race.

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the Democratic Party chairman, in November called Tony Williams the frontrunner for mayor in 2015.

Fact-checking Cohen

David L. Cohen, the Comcast executive vice president with deep ties to Rendell and the Democratic Party, including President Obama, went on Dom Giordano's WPHT (1201-AM) radio show last Friday to discuss the fundraiser he threw at his home last month for Gov. Corbett.

Cohen spoke of his past support for Corbett, their 20-year friendship, the "open-door" policy the governor uses for anything Cohen wants to discuss. Nothing surprising there.

Near the end of the 14-minute appearance, Cohen asked for time to make one more point.

He said that anyone thinking that Corbett has no chance to win a second term next year should be reminded that his poll numbers "are remarkably similar" to poll numbers for Rendell and former Gov. Tom Ridge at the same point in their first terms.

"What I'm saying is, incumbent executives are most vulnerable in the polls as they begin their re-election campaigns," Cohen said.

We dug up some old polling, with the help of G. Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll. It didn't support Cohen's claim.

Ridge had a 57 percent approval rating at this point in his first term. Rendell was at 39 percent. Corbett is at 26 percent.

"I stand by my view that polling numbers for incumbent executives at the mid-point of their first term are not a reliable predictor of electoral success," Cohen said, after we sent him the polling.


Email: brennac@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5973

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN

Blog: philly.com/phillyclout

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