As first reported Thursday by NewsWorks‘ NinetyNine election blog, the Philadelphia mayoral race gained a new candidate this week.
Soxx, the patron saint of city sanitation workers (and creation of artist Jenny Drumgoole), has thrown her “name” into the mix as a write-in candidate with some eccentric pomp and circumstance.
On Friday, that manifested itself as the colorfully decorated and garmented Soxx arrived with several sign-toting supporters to meet and greet voters at City Hall’s South Broad Street entrance.
There, they distributed hand-decorated pins and buttons, hawked the campaign website, told drivers-by stopped at the nearby traffic light to “Vote Soxx,” and chased down passers-by to discuss the ills Philadelphians face.
While none of the five declared candidates chose to comment on these latest developments in the race, Soxx urged people to remember to bring a writing implement to the polls in November, thank their sanitation workers and cast their vote for her candidacy.
“All you have to do is write it in!” she declared into a microphone attached to an arts-and-crafts constructed podium. “S-O-X-X.”
Some hurried by without having any time for that while others snapped mobile-phone pictures of the scene or shared a “Jesus Christ for President!” declaration.
“Everything,” one man said when Soxx asked him, “What do you think the next mayor should do?”
“¡Si!” declared a gentleman named Javier. “Happiness! I love Philadelphia!”
The whimsical nature of the event relented, however, when 38-year-old Nasir Savage took Soxx up on her offer to chat.
A homeless man with a felony record, Savage said he’s unhappy with all the civic attention directed toward preparing for Pope Francis’ visit while those who live on the streets are being overlooked.
He said that was ironic, considering the pontiff’s message of helping the less fortunate.
“It’s all ‘pope this’ and ‘pope that,’ and it’s not a little bit of money involved in this. The homeless, we’re out there every day of the year, and it’s OK for you to walk by the homeless, walk across the Parkway to avoid ’em?” Savage said into Soxx’s microphone.
Savage then declared that there will be a homeless march at 2 p.m. Sunday from Love Park to the Ben Franklin Parkway.
“We want it to be peaceful, and if we don’t get results then, we’re going to go on a global level,” Savage said, engaging with Soxx in a discussion about the homeless being removed from the area to shelters or “lock us away” for next week’s World Meeting of Families. “It’s not right. It’s not right.”
After Savage and Soxx chatted for about 10 minutes, the former accepted that the person with whom he was talking might not win in November. But, that was OK with him.
“I think you’re just doing this for fun,” he said. “But, as long as this gets my message out, it’s cool.”