Blinq: Saidel quits run for Congress, citing Bubba

Posted: April 18, 2013

Former Philadelphia City Controller Jonathan Saidel dropped out Tuesday from the Democratic primary in the 13th Congressional District, citing the party heavyweights backing former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies.

One of them apparently is a certain former president known as Bubba. Bill Clinton owes Margolies big-time - and besides, she is daughter Chelsea's mother-in-law.

Saidel's sudden move was the biggest domino to fall thus far in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, who is running for governor in 2014.

A former television reporter, Margolies - known back then as Margolies-Mezvinsky - represented the 13th District for a term, losing in 1994 after she cast the deciding vote for tax increases in a Clinton budget, a victory that steadied the new presidency. Now 70, she has been telling Democrats she would like her old job back.

"I respect the Clinton family's support of Marjorie as family and friend, and in recognition for her deciding vote for the Clinton budget cast 20 years ago," Saidel said in a statement.

The district has been redrawn twice since Margolies' day and is less competitive than it was. In 2011, GOP lawmakers combined most of Northeast Philadelphia and the inner-ring suburbs of Montgomery County into a district where 60 percent of voters are registered as Democrats.

State Rep. Brendan Boyle of the Northeast, State Sen. Daylin Leach of Montgomery County, State Rep. Mark Cohen of Philadelphia, and Valerie Arkoosh, a medical professor at the University of Pennsylvania, have taken steps to run in next spring's Democratic primary.

Boyle on Tuesday touted the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who is also the city Democratic chairman.

Saidel, who was city controller for 16 years, has always wanted to be mayor and hinted that he might be back.

"Public service is in my blood," Saidel's statement said. He did not respond to interview requests.

- Thomas Fitzgerald

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