A mayoral cavalcade honors literacy ‘champion’ at City Hall ceremony

 Former Mayor Wilson Goode congratulated Jim Kenney on his mayoral-primary victory before Wednesday morning's event in City Hall. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

Former Mayor Wilson Goode congratulated Jim Kenney on his mayoral-primary victory before Wednesday morning's event in City Hall. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

For several minutes on Wednesday morning, former mayors Wilson Goode and Ed Rendell, current mayor Michael Nutter and mayoral aspirant Jim Kenney shared a City Hall reception room to help honor Marciene Mattleman, “a true champion for children in Philadelphia” on the occasion of her retirement.

Goode, Rendell and Nutter were among the speakers who lauded Mattleman, who steered the launch of the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy (during Goode’s administration), Philadelphia Reads (Rendell administration) and, among others, ASAP/After School Activities Partnership during her 50-year history of service.

At the event — it was part tribute, part endearing roast — Kenney sat in the audience, savoring an increasingly rare moment out of the spotlight.

Still, he graciously accepted congratulations from voters who said they supported his mayoral candidacy — “Everybody in Mt. Airy voted for you!” said one — and noteworthy attendees like David Montgomery and Michael Stiles (Phillies chairman and executive vice president, respectively).

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For his part, Goode gave Kenney a hug and said congratulations in their first interaction since the May 19 primary.

“You should get used to that,” said Nutter after his microphone mention of Kenney drew a round of applause from those inside a packed Mayor’s Reception Room.

Even Mattleman said it was nice that Kenney stopped by to help celebrate her big day.

WHYY’s Tom MacDonald covered the Mattleman tribute, but NinetyNine was on hand to gauge former-mayoral (and other) reactions to Kenney’s landslide victory.

Rendell left early thanks to previously scheduled events, so he eluded a chance to weigh in, and Nutter has made his feelings known on the primary results not once but twice in recent days.

That left Goode, who told NinetyNine he knew it was over when an independent poll set Kenney’s lead at 27 percent the week before the primary.

Goode also noted that the coalition that Kenney built was “an extraordinary achievement” but, knowing what he knows about politics, wondered whether it could prove detrimental should he, as expected, win the November general election against Republican candidate Melissa Murray Bailey.

Namely, Goode said, groups that backed Kenney could have done so with the expectations of getting something in return later.

“I felt he was going to win, and win by a large margin, when that poll came out at 42 [percent] to 15 [percent],” he said. “People started to ‘vote for the winner’ and [Anthony Hardy] Williams had no chance.”

Also on hand at the Mattelman tribute was U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, who endorsed Williams in the campaign. He said he spoke with Kenney earlier that morning about federal support for the Democratic National Convention that’s coming to Philadelphia in 2016.

Fattah conceded that he, like many, was surprised by Kenney’s 30-percent margin of victory.

“[Kenney] had a high rate of success with a historically low [voter] turnout,” Fattah said. “I was amazed by how it turned out.”

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