Santorum and the forgotten Philadelphia candidates

    Just in time to get into the first Republican presidential debate in South Carolina , former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum has registered his exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission.

    Fox News, which is hosting tomorrow’s debate, made that a condition of entry for the face-off.

    Santorum has practically made Iowa his second home this year, so it seems he’s serious.

    Meanwhile, I encourage you to attend a different debate tonight and take your measure of some candidates for Philadelphia offices most citizens pay no attention to.

    A group of progressive organizations are sponsoring a debate for candidates for Philadelphia “row offices” – sheriff, city commissioner and register of wills.

    These are elected posts that are so widely ignored that they are typically controlled by ward leaders whose troops pass out sample ballots on election day.

    In fact, in all my many years of covering politics I can’t recall a member of the three-member city commission, which runs elections, who wasn’t a ward leader.

    There are some interesting candidates for these offices this year, including a crowded field for sheriff, which has no incumbent for the first time since the 80’s.

    The debate is from 6:30 to 8:30 at the central branch of the Philadelphia Free Library, at 19th and the Ben Franklin Parkway.

    And last week I encouraged you to attend the debates of City Council candidates sponsored by the League of Women Voters and media partners. Since that piece, the video of the debate between 7th district hopefuls Bobby Henon and Martin Bednarek, hosted by Philly.com’s Wendy Warren has been posted.

    You can watch it here.

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