If Green goes, who's in line?

Brady : Phone ringing off hook.
Brady : Phone ringing off hook.
Posted: January 20, 2014

IT'S POSSIBLE that the state Senate won't approve Councilman Bill Green's nomination to the School Reform Commission. And if that does happen, it's possible that Council President Darrell Clarke would decide to forgo a special election.

But those uncertainties aren't stopping a slew of Council hopefuls from lobbying the powers that be to get on the ballot.

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who as the city's Democratic Party boss will have enormous sway over the decision, said his phone has been ringing off the hook and that he expects at least 20 candidates to throw their hats into the ring.

"So we'll have one happy candidate and 19 mad," Brady said. "You look for a candidate with credibility, people that are qualified."

In a special Council election, the ward leaders from each party nominate the two candidates who appear on the ballot. In Philadelphia, the Democratic ward leaders' pick usually gets the seat.

First Ward leader and electricians union boss John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty said he met with Brady for three hours Thursday night, as word spread that Gov. Corbett would announce the Green pick the next day. They discussed a number of topics, including who should fill the potential vacancy, he said.

Dougherty said he wants someone who matches Green's profile, which he described as drawing support from "the river wards, the ethnic communities and the labor movement - them three groups."

One person who could do the trick, he said, is Finnigan's Wake owner Mike Driscoll, who has run for Council before.

Brady declined to discuss specific names. But the Daily News yesterday asked many sources about who's in the mix.

State Reps. John Sabatina Jr., whose father is a ward leader, and Ed Neilson are pitted against each other in the May primary, thanks to redistricting. Some in the party are hoping a bloody primary could be avoided if one takes the Council opening.

Another fight that party elders are hoping to avoid is 23rd Ward leader Danny Savage's challenge of state Sen. Tina Tartaglione. Savage, however, said yesterday that he's not backing off the Senate race and isn't interested in a Council seat.

Other Democrats said to be in the mix for a Council at-large seat include 2nd Ward leader Edward Nesmith; Sharif Street, the son of former Mayor John Street; and Derek Green, from Councilwoman Marian Tasco's office.

On the Republican side, the most frequently mentioned name is 27th Ward leader J. Matthew Wolfe, who made headlines last week for questioning whether the salaries of Nutter's deputy mayors violate the Home Rule Charter.

State Rep. John Taylor, chairman of the Philly GOP, said former Traffic Court candidate Ella Butcher and former Council candidate Joe McColgan also are interested in the seat.

If Green is confirmed, a special election could happen as early as the May primary or the November general election.

On Twitter: @SeanWalshDN

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout

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