Low-key mayoral race draws quietly to a close

Philadelphia’s Democratic mayoral primary race has not been a contentious, public competition based on arguing the issues. Instead, the two candidates have mostly stayed quiet with few big events or ads.

With just days to go, the candidates are making a last-minute push for votes.

Milton Street once draped himself over a coffin to highlight the city’s homicides. He then burst into song.

But the Milton Street’s who’s challenging incumbent Mayor Michael Nutter hasn’t been grabbing headlines with music. Street defended the casket stunt, saying people who live in communities where children are shot and killed, understood his message.

“When you deal with that type of people that you’re trying to mobilize, you have to do things that they can relate to, the things that touch them,” said Street. “And I understand that.”

Street hasn’t launched much of a political campaign in the traditional sense. Hampered by a lack of money, he says he’s focusing on community get-out-the-vote efforts. Street knows some city political watchers might think his campaign’s been low profile.

“They probably are used to seeing a lot of TV ads and a lot of radio ads, but if they were in the community where I live, they wouldn’t say it’s low profile,” said Street. “Somebody who sits up in the penthouse or in some office at … some university, how can they know what’s going on in this streets?”

Street has scheduled several campaign events–including a motorcade trip that will tour the city, a meet and greet, and a radio appearance.

But Megan Mullin, an assistant professor of political science at Temple University, said Street doesn’t stand much of a chance.

“It’s not a tight race. Mayor Nutter is going to win,” she said.

The incumbent’s been pretty quiet during this race too. He’s been running straightforward radio spots that defend his record, such as this one on WURD: “Michael Nutter is working to raise money for schools to create and run afterschool programs that engage and instruct children until us parents get home from work. He is working for our piece of mind.”

While Street has a long record of unorthodox events, it’s Nutter who’s heading to a North Philadelphia restaurant for a “Taste of Shrimp” campaign rally. A get-out-the-vote trolley tour with endorsed candidates and DJs in tow will follow.

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