5:20 pm: My tour of polling places shows Stephanie Singer, the insurgent candidate challenging veteran Marge Tartaglione for city commissioner with stronger-than-expected support among traditional Democratic powers.
I found that in three Northeast Philly wards, the 56th, 57th, and 58th, the official Democratic ballots dropped Tartraglione, and in two cases recommended Singer. These aren’t places you’d expect to see Marge in trouble, so I asked what was going on.
Rene Tartaglione, Marge’s daughter, said the problem was powerful electricians’ union leader John Dougherty. Rene said Marge had promised to support Martin Bednarek for the 6th Council seat months ago, when his likely opponent was State Rep. Michael McGeehan. When McGheehan got out of the race and Bobby Henon, the political director of the electricians’ union got in, Marge kept her promise to back Bednarek. That, Rene explained, caused Dougherty to make mischief among his allies in the party for Marge.
I found Marge working her 62nd ward polling place as she’s done for 50 years. When I told her about the Northeast ward leaders cutting her, she it was because her daughter, State Sen. Tina Tartaglione hadn’t voted for State Sen. Mike Stack for chair of the appropriations committee. Stack is a Northeast ward leader, so this was his chance to return the disfavor.
Marge also told me this was her last election. I asked why.
“Politics has changed,” she said. “People shake your hand, pat you on the back, then you turn around and see a knife in your back.”
Singer isn’t running one-on-one against Marge, by the way. She’s competing for one of two spots on the Democratic ticket for the board that runs city elections. It’s possible they could both win and be Democratic running mates in the fall election. Wouldn’t that be fun for everybody?
In other afternoon developments….
The campaign of Council candidate Danny Savage went to court and got an order stopping distribution of a flier accusing him of trying to put an in-patient methadone clinic in Kensington. The flier didn’t state who authorized and paid for the communication as required by the election code. Savage’s petition said one his workers had seen the fliers distributed in Kensington’s 33rd ward, where ward leader Donna Aument supports Savage’s opponent, City Councilwoman Maria Quniones-Sanchez.
And spokesman Frank Keel reports that the Bobby Henon for Council campaign went to court and got an order stopping distribution of literature for his opponent, Marty Bednarek because they also lacked the required statement of sponsorship.
The Committee of Seventy says it was one of the quietest elections on record, but that their volunteers got “a lot of practice reminding campaigners not to get within 10 feet of the place where voting is taking place.”
Filed at around 1 p.m.: There was little sign of the armies of ex-offenders Milton Street promised would fuel his mayoral campaign at the five polling places in North Philadelphia I visited this morning. There was little activity at any of the polls I saw in the 14th, 47th, 37, and 32nd wards. At every location a single poll worker handed out a sample ballot with Mayor Nutter and other Democratic incumbents recommended.
I’ve managed to get a look at election material being distributed at a variety of wards around the city. They showed incumbent Democratic City Councilman Wilson Goode being cut from the recommended slates in the 21st ward in Roxborough/Manayunk, the 9th ward in Chestnut Hill, the 46th in West Philly,and the 57th in the Northeast. I’d heard in recent days that Goode had waged a low-visibility, under-funded campaign and would be left behind by some ward leaders. He still has a powerful family name to rely on. For you yougnsters, his father was Philadelphia’s first African-Amercan mayor.
Insurgent Council at-large candidate Sherrie Cohen has had a visible presence at polling places I’ve seen, and a ballot featuring Council at-large challenger Andy Toy, and city commissioner candidates Stephanie Singer and Blaine Talmadge has appeared in many wards.
While there was so little activity in North Philly that it was hard to tell where the polling places were, more than two dozen people were handing out literature outside the Pollock school on Welsh Road in the Northeast. Nine divisions in the 57th ward vote there.
Republican mayoral candidate Karen Brown was greeting voters, working her first election as a candidate and her first as a Republican. She had nothing to say worth reporting. Also present was Lori Bednarek, Democratic leader of the 64th ward and wife of City Council candidate Marty Bednarek. She told me partisans of Council candidate Bobby Henon were escorting voters into the polling place wearing Henon t-shirts. None of the Henon people there – and there were plenty – said they’d done or seen such a thing, and a woman working one of the polling stations inside said she hadn’t seen that.
Al Schmidt, the Republican candidate running against party leaders, has had signs and poll workers out in many areas. He’s fighting an uphill battle against the GOP leadership, and mayoral candidate John Featherman is with him on a lot of literature. Featherman also has “bullet ballot” with only his name at some polling places.
Feel free to leave me your thoughts or observations in comments or an email. I’ll be out, trying to stay dry.