Former city solicitor Ken Trujillo will announce his candidacy for mayor of Philadelphia Wednesday, becoming the second candidate to formally enter the field for next year’s Democratic primary.
Trujillo, who headed the city law department under Mayor John Street, has served on the state Gaming Control Board and PICA, the state board overseeing Philadelphia’s finances. He’s been an entrepreneur, owning restaurants and a radio station, and has raised money for several political campaigns, including President Obama’s.
While he’s known to insiders, Trujillo will begin the race with name recognition pretty close to zero. He hopes to get voters’ attention with a compelling personal story — he rose from poverty in New Mexico to become a successful lawyer, prosecutor, small-business owner and community activist — and with his ideas.
Trujillo plans to announce his candidacy in front of the Philadelphia School District building, underlining the importance of educational reform.
Trujillo has another card to play as he takes on a field of better-known public figures: his money. When I spoke to him about his mayoral ambitions last year, it was clear he’s prepared to put some serious money of his own into the race, likely in the millions. That’s enough to make him credible. He’ll have to do the rest.
It’s clear he’s serious, though. He’s engaged Bill Hyers, who managed the mayoral campaigns of New York’s Bill de Blasio and Philadelphia’s Michael Nutter, as well as veteran media man Ken Snyder, who most recently did messaging for successful Pennsylvania congressional candidate state Rep. Brendan Boyle.
Terry Gillen, a former city economic development official, recently announced her candidacy for mayor. Others considered to be possible Democratic candidates include state Sen. Anthony Williams, City Controller Alan Butkovitz, City Councilman Jim Kenney, and, possibly, City Council President Darrrell Clarke.