An Independent run for Knox?

    It’s Day Two of the Philadelphia mayor’s race, at least to political junkies who start obsessing on the next race immediately after election day.

    I called millionaire and 2007 mayoral candidate Tom Knox to ask if he’s still thinking about challenging Mayor Nutter next year. He told me a couple months ago he’d probably run if Sam Katz didn’t, and wouldn’t if Katz did.


    Now Knox has changed his tune, or at least a couple of notes. He hinted he might go for the mayor’s office even if Katz gets in. “There’s more than one way” to get into a race he said cryptically, and declined to elaborate.

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    A reasonable inference is that Knox might let Katz run in the Democratic primary, then run as an independent (or Republican) in the general election – which, if you think of it, has some appeal. He rests comfortably while Katz and Nutter bloody each other up and spend all their campaign cash in the primary, then takes the winner on fresh and ready.

    And a peculiarity of Philadelphia’s campaign finance law makes this option even more appealing. The city’s limits on contributions apply to a calendar year, not an election cycle. So donors who max out in the primary can’t re-up for a general (this was a problem I suggested Nutter and City Council fix in past newspaper columns – they declined). If Knox spends a fortune on his own race, the limits would be doubled, which would help the primary winner raise new money. But Knox would still have an advantage, since Nutter and Katz would likely have spent half of those doubled contributions in the Democratic primary. Stay tuned.

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