It’s never too early to plan for this party, by which I mean the next Philadelphia mayor’s race.
Former City Solicitor Ken Trujillo says he’s forming a committee and “doing everything necessary” to run for mayor in 2015.
“Ken who?” you might be thinking.
Trujillo, 53, headed the Philadelphia law department when John Street was mayor. He’s also served on the state Gaming Control Board and PICA, the state board overseeing Philadelphia’s finances.
He’s been an active fundraiser for a number of political campaigns. He did enough to earn a spot on President Barack Obama’s 2008 transition team.
He’s also long had an entrepreneurial bent. Most recently, he bought the former WHAT radio station and converted it to a contemporary Spanish language musical format. It’s called El Zol Philly.
It’s not a resume that would catapult him to the front of the Democratic mayoral pack, but if it’s a multi-candidate field, funny things can happen. Michael Nutter won the Democratic nomination in 2007 with 37 percent of the vote in a five-way primary.
A lot will depend on whether Trujillo can raise enough money to boost his name recognition. The buzz in the political world is that he’s prepared to invest some significant coin in his own campaign, though not in a league with the $10 million businessman Tom Knox spent on his 2007 effort, in which he finished second behind Nutter.
Philadelphia has campaign finance limits for city offices, but they don’t apply to a candidate’s personal funds.
Trujillo wouldn’t say what he’s prepared to spend when I spoke to him Friday, only that he expects his campaign to raise the resources he needs.
Asked why he’s running, he said he’s concerned about the future for young people living in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
“I worry that the opportunities for the kids are just not there,” he said. “And that this is really becoming a tale of two cities, or a city for the haves and another city for the have-nots.”
At the same time, Trujillo talked about controlling government spending.
“We have to right-size government,” he said. “We have to have a very honest conversation about what kind of government we want, what kind of government the city can afford.”
Trujillo mentioned controlling municipal pension costs as one priority but said he’ll have more to say about specific proposals and about his campaign team down the road.
Other potential candidates for mayor include businessman Tom Knox, state Sen. Anthony Williams, City Council members Jim Kenney and Bill Green, as well as City Controller Alan Butkovitz.
Trujillo would be the first major Latino candidate for mayor. His family has been in northern New Mexico since the 1600s.