Philadelphia Council candidate hits rival with negative ad

    “I’m a businessman, I’m not a politician,” City Council candidate Howard Treatman says in a TV ad he ran early in his campaign.

    It turns out he’s enough of a politician to go negative on his chief rival.

    I was half-watching a baseball game on ESPN last night when I saw a Treatman commercial attacking Council candidate Cindy Bass. It went by too quickly for me to get the exact wording, but an announcer said something about Bass being supported by career politicians (which is what you say when politicians aren’t supporting you).

    And there was a video bite that seemed to show Bass saying she’s more interested in getting elected than ending the controversial DROP program. I asked around, and apparently the ad has been running for a few days.

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    I don’t know if I can think of another City Council campaign that involved negative TV ads, though that’s mostly because TV is expensive. The Treatman campaign is better funded than most, since Howard Treatman has put $275,000 of his own money into the campaign committee (figure corrected from earlier post). That represents nearly all of the $309,834 Treatman has raised, and is more than all but one of the 30-odd candidates running for the office.

    Joe Corrigan of the Bass campaign says the Treatman ad misrepresents her response to a Fox 29 reporter’s question.

    It’s hard for me to judge, since the Treatman campaign hasn’t posted the ad on You Tube as it did their positive spots. And Treatman’s spokesman hasn’t return my call or email asking for a copy of the ad (see update on this below).

    Bass and Treatman are two of seven candidates Democrats seeking to succeed Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller in the 8th district in Northwest Philadelphia.

    You can find a boatload of coverage of that race in Newsworks’ Northwest section.

    UPDATE: Treatman’s contributions have now triggered the “millionaire’s provision in the city’s campaign finance law. Because he’s given $250,000 of his own, the contribution limits for everybody else in the race are doubled, to $5,200 for individuals, and $21,200 for political committees.

    So Mayor Nutter’s campaign could give Cindy Bass another $10,600 if he wants.

    UPDATE II: I finally heard from Treatman and his campaign manager. They say the TV ad accruately relfects a Fox 29 report on Bass and the DROP issue. You can see the report here. Bass campaign aide Corrigan said the report and the Treatman ad take Bass’ answer to a question about whom she would support for Council president and attach it to a different question, suggesting she hasn’t made her mind up about DROP.

    The Treatman campaign still hasn’t been about to provide a copy of the ad or the script.

    The Bass campaign has lobbed its own grenade by the way, doing a robo-call to voters in which Bass warns that someone is trying to buy the election.


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