Councilwoman's husband gears up for a campaign with 2-block relocation

CHARLES FOX / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Tomas Sanchez , seen in 2010 with wife Maria Quinones Sanchez, has political aspirations - so he had to make a move.
CHARLES FOX / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Tomas Sanchez , seen in 2010 with wife Maria Quinones Sanchez, has political aspirations - so he had to make a move.
Posted: October 25, 2013

 TOMAS SANCHEZ, the husband of City Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez, is really going to miss his man cave.

But the state Constitution says members of the General Assembly have to live in their district for one year before their election.

And Sanchez is seriously considering a 2014 Democratic primary election challenge for the 197th state House seat held by rookie state Rep. J.P. Miranda.

Last month, Sanchez changed his voter registration from the home he shares with his wife half a block south of Norris Square to an apartment in a building owned by his brother half a block north of Norris Square. That moves him into the 197th District.

Sanchez had to become a resident by Nov. 4 to live in the district for one year before the 2014 general election.

Miranda, who in 2012 won the seat vacated by now-Sheriff Jewell Williams, didn't want to hear it.

"I don't respond to that," Miranda said. "Councilwoman Sanchez doesn't live in my district."

To emphasize that last point, Miranda repeated it four times.

Tomas Sanchez, who works in procurement and business relations at Temple University, said he and his wife are downsizing to a house they bought in July that is inside the district's new boundaries, implemented by redistricting last year. That house won't be ready for a couple months, he said.

Their current home sports a man cave so swanky that the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about it in 2010. Sanchez laments that it will be tough to leave that behind.

Sanchez, who has worked for Council members, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and PECO Energy, said the district needs leadership.

"Unfortunately, we have too many people involved in politics in our community who are more interested in their own self-promotion than they are in the good of the community," he said.

Sanchez and his wife in 2009 helped found the Latino Empowerment Alliance of the Delaware Valley (LEAD) Political Action Committee. One of the first candidates the PAC backed: now-District Attorney Seth Williams.

Sanchez considered a run for the 197th seat in 2011 but redistricting was up in the air then.

A first-termer is often vulnerable to a political challenge. But Miranda may have more than Sanchez to worry about.

Fox 29 reported in May that the District Attorney's Office was investigating its report on allegations of a "ghost employee" on the books in Miranda's North Philly district office. Miranda, in his car leaving his office, peeled out into traffic when Fox 29 reporter Jeff Cole tried to ask him questions.

"I don't want to comment on an ongoing investigation," Sanchez said when asked about Miranda. "I would say that, on the surface, it appears concerning."

Miranda declined to say if he is under investigation or even if he is represented by an attorney.

Which reminds us . . .

Williams, seeking a second four-year term as D.A. in the Nov. 5 general election, is being challenged by Republican Danny Alvarez, who is running a campaign with a tight focus on public corruption.

Alvarez repeatedly pressed the issue in a debate with Williams that aired Sunday on the Comcast Network's "The Voice of Reason with Larry Kane."

Williams defended his record, saying he had built a "dream team" of prosecutors who have been busy on that very issue.

"We have a significant amount of cases before our grand jury where we are investigating corruption," Williams said. "And very soon we'll have a press conference to talk about that."

Williams this week told us that a grand jury report should be ready for release to the public in November or December.

"I can neither confirm nor deny the names of witnesses, victims or targets of our grand jury investigations," Williams replied when we asked if Miranda would be mentioned in that report.

Alvarez has vowed to serve just one term if elected, saying that's enough time to clean up public corruption in Philadelphia.

No, really. He thinks four years is what it takes to clean it all up.

"Every single dime that is wasted in municipal corruption is a dime that is converted into a bullet out on our streets," he added.

Quotable

" I got a call a few months ago, right? Gave me the message, said, 'Somebody from the Justice Department.' Now, I'm a politician, right? Normally when you get a call from the Justice Department, you're like, 'What's that about?' Right? I'm just being straight up, right? So I finally returned the call maybe after, what, three times."

- Council President Darrell Clarke, while touring Strawberry Mansion on Monday with Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason and Mayor Nutter.


Email: brennac@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5973

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN

Blog: ph.ly/phillyclout

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