Now a Democrat, Sam Katz seen as possible candidate for Philadlephia mayor

    Former Philadelphia mayoral candidate Sam Katz may take on Mayor Nutter in next year’s Democratic primary

    Former Philadelphia mayoral candidate Sam Katz may take on Mayor Nutter in next year’s Democratic primary.

    Sam Katz is a one-time Democrat who became a Republican and ran three times for mayor, coming up short in 1991, 1999 and 2003. He re-registered as a Democrat in the last presidential race, and has told friends he could run against Mayor Nutter next spring.

    That notion got some extra buzz in recent days with the release of an independent poll

    “It seems that Katz is well position to mount a competitive bid for mayor,” said Ed Haggerty, who’s new firm Municpoll surveyed 810 Philadelphia Democrats just to get some attention to his start-up business.

    His poll found Nutter well ahead in a multi-candidate primary, but leading Katz by only four points in a head to head match up.

    A strange part of the tale is that Katz’s ambitions have been encouraged by former Mayor John Street, who beat Katz in two hard-fought and decidedly unfriendly mayoral campaigns.

    Democratic strategist Mark Nevins says Katz’s showing probably says more about Nutter than Katz:

    “I think that that reflects an anybody but the incumbent point of view at this point,” Nevins said. “I’m not sure that it’s reflective of a tremendous amount of love for Sam Katz, as much as it is a frustration with the status quo.”

    Neither Street nor Katz are talking. Mayor Nutter says he thinks voters understand he’s had to make some tough decisions…

    “Just about everyone in Philadelphia knows that I did not create the world financial crisis,” the mayor said. “People know that we’re working hard, that we’re struggling, but also that we’re coming back.”

    As of January, Mayor Nutter had $1.3 million in his campaign fund, not enough to scare off potential rivals. The primary is May 17 of next year, but any competitor will have to start building support and raising money this fall.

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