Clout polls the pols: Three questions on Election Day

Posted: May 22, 2014

IT'S TRADITION - like chopped liver on rye - for Clout to question the politicians on Election Day at the Famous 4th Street Deli.

We ask everyone the same three questions. The answers - and the dodges - are revealing.

Yesterday's questions were:

* Who will the candidates be for mayor of Philadelphia next year and who is the front-runner?

* Can Democratic nominee Tom Wolf defeat Gov. Corbett in the November general election?

* Who would win an arm-wrestling match between electricians union chief John Dougherty and carpenters union leader Ed Coryell?

City Council President Darrell Clarke nibbled around the edges of a mayoral run, calling it too early to make a call on that race.

"In terms of where I'll be and what I'll be running for in 2015, at this point I'm not there," he said.

Clarke, who voted for Wolf, said he does not yet know if the Democrat can best Corbett.

And Clarke ducked the arm-wrestling question, answering: "There's probably not a good answer for that for me."

State Sen. Michael Stack, who won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor yesterday, said Clarke, City Councilman Jim Kenney, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams and City Controller Alan Butkovitz are the likely 2015 candidates.

He sees Clarke and Williams as the front-runners for now.

Stack, who will share a ticket with Wolf, naturally expects the Democratic nominee to win.

And Stack thinks the arm-wrestling match would end in a draw after being stopped "because each wrestler will be trying to get an unfair advantage."

State Sen. Ed Neilson, who won a special election yesterday for a City Council at-large seat, called Clarke, Williams, Kenney and Butkovitz the likely 2015 candidates, with no front-runner.

Neilson says Wolf can win but predicts Corbett will back an extraction tax of 3.9 percent to 4.9 percent on natural-gas drillers, with money going to public education, to rob the Democrat of that issue.

Neilson, a former political director for Dougherty's union, didn't dare bet against his old boss.

Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham says there are "a zillion" candidates for 2015, including herself. She also counted Terry Gillen and Rich Negrin, two top aides to Mayor Nutter, and former City Solicitor Ken Trujillo. She sees no front-runner in the race so far.

Abraham calls the Wolf-Corbett matchup "hotly contested" and too close to call for now.

She picks Dougherty in the arm wrestling. "I didn't even have to think about it," she added.

Butkovitz, who used the disclaimer "likely" to describe 2015 candidates since he can't declare in the race and keep his day job, said he and Williams are the obvious contenders. He also said it gets "a little murky" after that, with Gillen, Trujillo and others possibly entering the field.

"I think the conventional wisdom would say that Tony Williams has front-runner status but I don't think that's real," he said.

Butkovitz predicts a win for Wolf in November and arm-wrestling victory for Dougherty.


Phone: 215-854-5973

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN


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