Former Lt. Gov. Mike Stack ‘seriously considering’ bid for Philly City Council

Mike Stack (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Mike Stack (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Former Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack is down, but not out.

Marty Marks, who described himself as a senior consultant to Stack and his political campaign, said that the former lieutenant governor and state senator was “seriously considering” running for Philadelphia City Council this year.

“He’s taking a very serious look at running for City Council,” Marks said. “He’s giving it very serious consideration … He’s moving toward making a decision.”

After nearly two decades in Harrisburg, the Northeast Philadelphia Democrat left office under a cloud of scandal and rumored acrimony between him and Gov. Tom Wolf. He lost a primary to John Fetterman, former mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, after being tarred by allegations that he and his wife had mistreated their state security detail. Stack eventually moved in with his mother, retired judge Felice Stack, after being ejected from his official residence.

But the fall from grace has not diminished Stack’s ambitions. The Inquirer reported earlier this week that he was organizing a political fundraiser, set for next Tuesday. However, Marks declined to say if Stack was raising money to run for a citywide at-large seat or to challenge 10th District Republican Councilman Brian O’Neill.

“He’s trying to make a decision about whether to run at large or in the district,” Marks said. “He has tremendous support in Northeast Philadelphia. But he also has interest in the at-large positions that have opened up because of the retirements that have taken place.” At-large Council members Bill Greenlee and Blondell Reynolds Brown have decided against seeking re-election.

In July, Marks said that Stack was “interested” in a range of different offices, from “Congress to Council.” So, what has Stack been mulling over this whole time?

“As with anyone, he had a pretty significant change in his life when he did not win re-election for lieutenant governor,” Marks said. “It’s just taken him a while to figure out what he wants to do and where he wants to serve.”

But political sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, gave another explanation for Stack’s indecision: He was waiting to see if he drew a favorable ballot position.

In Philadelphia, ballot position is determined by having candidates draw lots out of a Horn & Hardart’s coffee can. Although this selection process is arbitrary, its consequences are very real – with research showing that simply winning the top ballot position is more important than candidates’ receiving an endorsement from the Democratic Party or the Inquirer.

Marks said ballot position was only a small consideration.

“It’s always a factor, but it’s not that significant of a factor for him. Mike Stack has the best name recognition and best political base of any of the candidates running at large, which I think makes him a very strong candidate,” Marks said.

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