Knox, about to join 2015 mayor's race, pulls back

Insurance-industry veteran Tom Knox, who is considering a run for mayor in 2015, has proposed creating walk-in health clinics at each of the citys public and charter schools. Photo is hand out.
Insurance-industry veteran Tom Knox, who is considering a run for mayor in 2015, has proposed creating walk-in health clinics at each of the citys public and charter schools. Photo is hand out.
Posted: November 16, 2013

PHILADELPHIA Ten days after inviting supporters to the start of his 2015 Philadelphia mayoral race, Tom Knox announced Friday that he had decided not to run after all.

"Leading this great city as mayor has been a lifelong ambition, but it's simply not to be," he said in a statement distributed to reporters. "I put my family through one arduous mayoral campaign. I can't put them through another."

He said he decided after "much soul-searching and many difficult conversations with my wife, children and trusted advisers."

Knox, 72, spent nearly $10.6 million of his fortune on his 2007 mayoral run, finishing second in a five-way Democratic primary, 35,000 votes behind Michael Nutter, but being a close contender until the last two weeks of the campaign.

Since then, Knox has floated his name as a candidate for various offices, including governor and mayor. Asked in April to assess the chances of his running for mayor in 2015, he told The Inquirer: "What does that Ivory Soap commercial say? 99.44 percent?"

Last week, he e-mailed invitations to a Nov. 20 event in Conversation Hall, a room around the corner from the mayor's office in City Hall, to announce his candidacy. That was to be followed by a fund-raiser at the Center City apartment Knox shares with his wife, Linda.

But those events were canceled Friday with an announcement by Frank Keel, longtime spokesman for electricians union leader John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty, Knox's most significant backer in 2007. Keel said Knox planned to return about $30,000 in donations already made to his campaign.

A self-made millionaire who built his fortune in the insurance business, Knox once served as deputy mayor to Ed Rendell.

"I will continue to be involved in shaping the future of Philadelphia," Knox's Friday statement said, "and will have a very keen interest in the selection of our next mayor."


warnerb@phillynews.com215-854-5885

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