Sen. Williams hires ex-Obama strategists

Posted: June 02, 2014

STATE SEN. Anthony Hardy Williams has hired 270 Strategies, a political consulting firm founded by veterans of President Obama's campaigns, to prepare for his expected mayoral run next year.

Jeremy Bird, a 270 partner and the national field director for Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, gave a PowerPoint presentation over lunch at the City Avenue Hilton yesterday to Williams and a group of his most high-profile supporters.

"We talked about what a possible campaign might look like, but what I found most important when you think about any sort of pathway [to the Mayor's Office] is: Here's the kind of people that we're going to start with, the broad diversity that it represented and the kind of leadership of the folks in the room," Bird said. On paper, Bird is working on Williams' unopposed Senate re-election campaign this year because Williams hasn't officially announced his candidacy for mayor.

The group included District Attorney Seth Williams, state Sen. Shirley Kitchen, former mayoral candidate Tom Knox, City Council members Jannie Blackwell and Curtis Jones Jr., Laborers' District Council leader Ryan Boyer, and former Councilman and mayoral candidate George Burrell.

Coalition-building and diversity have been the major talking point at Williams' "Team Tony" campaign events for the last year. Today was no different.

"You need someone who can build coalitions. That's the point of this room. . . . You had labor sitting next to big business in this room," said Williams, a Democrat from West Philadelphia and the son of the late state Sen. Hardy Williams. "Today was the first gathering of significant folks who have surrounded me over the last few years to say, 'We'd be interested in you running for mayor,' and to reveal to them what we've been working on."

A day earlier, the Inquirer reported that City Controller Alan Butkovitz, another Democrat expected to run for mayor next year, received a letter urging him to run from Lorenzo North, president of the largest local in Philly's blue-collar municipal union.

North, of Local 159 of the American Federation of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees, did not officially endorse Butkovitz but said he has "done a great job looking out for the taxpayers of Philadelphia."

Other potential 2015 candidates include City Council president Darrell Clarke, Councilman Jim Kenney, former District Attorney Lynne Abraham and former city solicitors Ken Trujillo and Nelson Diaz.

On Twitter: @SeanWalshDN


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