The new mayoral wild card

    Is it possible Milton Street could end up being the second most outrageous person in the mayor’s race?

    I ask this after newly-minted Republican Karen Brown was quoted in the Philadelphia Weekly online saying, “Philly already had a black mayor. That coin’s been done.”

    That was within a week of Milton suggesting that he may be more careful in his public remarks.

    “We’re getting ready to deal with my spontaneity, and that sometimes hurts me,” Street said, according to the Daily News’ Clout column last Friday.

    Given Milton’s long history of saying and doing colorful things, I wouldn’t put my money on anybody creating more drama than him. But an early look at Brown tells me she has potential.

    The first clue was her initial declaration that she was running as a Democrat for two offices simultaneously – the 1st district City Council seat in South Philly and Center City, and a City Council at-large seat.

    Anybody who knows anything about running for office in Philadelphia knows what a ridiculous proposition this is, especially for an unknown like Brown.

    Then, when Republican leaders desperate for a mayoral candidate recruited Brown to change parties, her explanation for leaving the Democratic party bordered on the bizarre.

    Brown told me and Fox 29 that she had to bolt from the party she’d belonged to for 31 years after she went before the Democratic city committee and found that they were also going to hear from Milton Street.

    “I felt we were sending the wrong message to our youth,” Brown told Fox’s Joyce Evans. When Evans astutely pointed out that Milton was just another candidate looking for support and that anyone can run, Brown ignored the point, saying, “we should aspire to a better class of politician.”

    “We should not be encouraging a felon to run,” she said. Of course nobody in the party was encouraging Milton, who was jailed for a misdemeanor, not a felony.

    For record, Brown told me she was misquoted by the Weekly on the ‘black mayor’ comment. She said she was having a private conversation in an elevator about the difficulty of running as a woman or African-American in the city.

    Whatever the case, it will interesting to watch Brown handle herself in the campaign.

    The Daily News’ Chris Brennan has an interesting item today about how many employees of the Republican-controlled Philadelphia Parking Authority were busy circulating Brown’s nominating petitions – on their own time, of course

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.