“The political establishment called me ‘a little jerk,'” said Ori Feibush with a shrug. “Thanks,” he adds, smiling straight into the camera.
And so begins one of two new TV ads released by Feibush, a real estate developer running to unseat Democratic incumbent Kenyatta Johnson in Philadelphia’s 2nd Councilmanic District. Feibush’s campaign would not say how much it has spent on reserving air time, but media consultant Daren Berringer called it a “competitive buy” on both broadcast and cable stations.
In the first few seconds of this ad, Feibush is referring to Mayor Michael Nutter who at Johnson’s campaign kick-off in January told supporters, “We’re not going to allow some little jerk with a big checkbook come in and buy this election.”
Feibush has put at least $250,000 of his own money into his election bid, triggering a doubling of campaign finance limits for this council race, but that is not likely the only reason for Nutter’s ire.
In 2012, Feibush, founder and president of OCF Realty, irked city officials when he cleaned up an abandoned lot next to one of his coffee shops. When the city threatened to sue him for trespassing, the story went viral.
Feibush refers to this and another headline-grabbing moment in the 30-second spot filmed outside OCF Coffee House in Point Breeze. Having never run for public office before, the ad highlights his work in the 2nd district, which stretches across South and Southwest Philadelphia.
Feibush claims he “helped the police catch criminals.” In 2013, he combed through surveillance footage at his coffee shop in Rittenhouse Square and found video of Jason Smith, the man who later confessed to murdering pediatrician Melissa Ketunuti in her home just around the corner from the shop.
“Along the way, I may have shaken up City Hall a little bit,” Feibush said in the spot. “So the politicians, They can call me anything they want. Maybe they’re just nervous because I actually get things done.”
The candidate does not appear in the second TV ad, which features five supporters from the district, all people of color who say they’re “standing with Ori” because “it’s time to fix Philly.”
Racial tensions in a getrifying city have formed a complicated backdrop to the race between Feibush, who is white, and Johnson, a black incumbent.
Johnson released his first TV ad last Friday featuring his 6-month-old son in their Point Breeze home and the message “from here, for here.”