With a shade under 70 days left until voters head to the mayoral-primary polls, one candidate who may not be able to run and one citizen who may or may not decide to do so usurped the local-political headlines.
Inside a church at 21st and Diamond streets, the third time was something of a charm for T. Milton Street Sr. who — after having seen two previous launch events cancelled on account of snow — kicked off his mayoral campaign in front of fewer than two dozen people.
NinetyNine’s Katie Colaneri was there with a mic and a camera to chronicle Milton’s opening-arguments in his “I am eligible to run despite evidence to the contrary” case.
Street insists he changed his registration back to “Democrat” in early 2013 and says he has voted as a Democrat in primaries since.
“So the conclusion is that all is well,” he said. “I voted!”
But official records contradict that claim. NewsWorks obtained copies of his voting history, which are public records, showing he has voted as an independent six times since April 2012.
This new information makes Street vulnerable to challenges from Democratic opponents who may want to knock him off the ballot.
“I don’t need to defend anything,” Street said, suggesting the error is merely clerical. “I did everything I was supposed to do.”
Street, who reinterated that stance again early Friday morning, told the reporters who constituted roughly one-fifth of the launch-event audience that he will provide more evidence backing his stance on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, as WHYY’s Dave Davies observed, independent not-yet-candidate Sam Katz launched a website called “Citizen Sam: An independent voice for Philadelphia” with a post titled “A Plan to Close the Educational Funding Gap.”
Katz, who lost a pair of mayoral campaigns versus Milton’s brother John, “is considering running for mayor in November as an independent candidate, a decision that will be governed in part by who wins the May 19 Democratic primary.”
For the moment, Katz is offering policy ideas, and he begins with a multipoint plan to solve the city’s education funding conundrum.
In future posts, he’ll offer proposals for the city’s pension funding problem, unsolved homicides, the city’s licenses and inspections bureaucracy and the state agency that oversees the city’s finances.
“I’ll see what the reaction is,” Katz said. “If it’s good, that’s encouraging. If it’s not, that’s discouraging.”