Johnny Doc’s brother to run for Supreme Court?

    Kevin Dougherty, the administrative judge of Philadelphia family court may run for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court should a vacancy occur. That’s the word from electricians’ union leader, John Dougherty, hizzoner’s brother.

    Kevin Dougherty was elected to Philadelphia common pleas court in 2001, finishing first with Johnny Doc’s help, and I’m told he’s been a respected trial judge and court administrator.

    State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin faces criminal charges that she used taxpayer-funded staff for her campaign. If she’s convicted and sentenced, she’ll forfeit her office and open up a seat on the court.

    The subject came up when I’d called Dougherty to talk about his own political alliances, particularly as they might affect the next Philadelphia mayor’s race, which is in 2015.

    Dougherty has long been a strong backer of City Councilman Bill Green, whose mayoral ambitions are no secret. I’d heard they weren’t so close now, and today the Daily News’ Chris Brennan has a fun piece on Dougherty coming to the defense of Councilman Jim Kenney, a potential rival of Green’s.

    Doc told me there’s nothing to the rumor of a rift with Green, that he’d recently had lunch with Green’s father, the former mayor.

    He had nice things to say about Green, Kenney, and host of other potential mayoral contenders. Which makes sense. If you’re John Dougherty, you have a very full agenda all the time, and there’s no reason to play your hand this early.

    But Dougherty’s moves bear watching, because the city’s campaign finance law permits political committees to spend as much as they want to help a political candidate, and Doc runs the biggest-spending political committee in the state.

    And Dougherty showed in a 2011 City Council contest he’s not afraid to weigh in heavily in a municipal election.

    The one definitive thing Dougherty would say about the next mayor’s race is that he won’t be a candidate.

    “I’m not running,” he said.

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