Northeast Times

Featherman discusses election’s aftermath

John Feather­man, a Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate for may­or in the May 17 primary, ac­know­ledges trail­ing Kar­en Brown by 63 votes.

There is no auto­mat­ic re­count, and the can­did­ate has been told it would cost $50 per di­vi­sion for a re­count. That would amount to about $85,000, a cost Feather­man would like to see waived.  

The vote totals are ex­pec­ted to be cer­ti­fied on June 8.

“Once the count is done, I’ll see where it goes from there,” he said.

Brown, who had the en­dorse­ment of the Re­pub­lic­an City Com­mit­tee, edged Feather­man, 8,274 to 8,217, on the ma­chines.

Ab­sent­ee bal­lots went to Brown, 81-80. She also pre­vailed on pro­vi­sion­al bal­lots by 13-8.

Non­ethe­less, Feather­man is sat­is­fied with com­ing close to pulling the up­set. He has long ques­tioned the lead­er­ship of party bosses Vito Canuso and Mike Mee­han.

“Win or lose, I broke their ma­chine,” he said.

Feather­man, a Re­altor from Chin­atown and chair­man of the 5th Ward Re­pub­lic­an Com­mit­tee, is look­ing for­ward to a June 7 meet­ing of ward lead­ers at the United Re­pub­lic­an Club. He be­lieves the meet­ing is be­ing called to either uni­fy the party by en­dors­ing all of the primary win­ners or to look for an­oth­er can­did­ate in case Brown with­draws from the race.

If Brown, a re­tired teach­er from South Phil­adelphia, drops out, Feather­man would seek to re­place her.

“I would cer­tainly love that, but I’m real­ist­ic,” he said, ad­mit­ting that the party prob­ably would nev­er en­dorse him.

Canuso, the party’s long­time chair­man, said the meet­ing’s agenda would be “plan­ning for Novem­ber.” He said the party might of­fi­cially back the un­en­dorsed primary win­ners — Den­nis O’Bri­en and Mi­chael Un­ter­mey­er for at-large City Coun­cil and Al Schmidt for city com­mis­sion­er.

As for Brown drop­ping out, Canuso said it won’t hap­pen.

“That ru­mor is so bad, it’s a shame,” he said.

One ru­mor that is good is that Un­ter­mey­er might drop out of the Coun­cil race. He fin­ished fifth of nine can­did­ates, and only two Re­pub­lic­ans will prob­ably be elec­ted in the fall.

Un­ter­mey­er edged an en­dorsed can­did­ate, Mal­colm Lazin, for the fi­nal slot. Lazin has in­dic­ated he’d like to re-enter the race.

••

Al Schmidt is en­cour­aged by his close second-place fin­ish in the May 17 Re­pub­lic­an primary for city elec­tions com­mis­sion­er.

Schmidt did not have party back­ing but fin­ished only 110 votes be­hind in­cum­bent Joe Duda, and 1,600 votes ahead of Mar­ie Delany.

In the gen­er­al elec­tion, Schmidt and Duda will be joined on the bal­lot by Demo­crat­ic in­cum­bent An­thony Clark and Stephanie Sing­er, a well-fin­anced chal­lenger who bashed nine-term in­cum­bent Marge Tartagli­one in­to de­feat. The top three fin­ish­ers win seats.

Since Demo­crats en­joy a large voter-re­gis­tra­tion ad­vant­age, Clark can plan for an­oth­er four years and Sing­er can think about renov­a­tions to Tartagli­one’s City Hall of­fice.

Duda and Schmidt will prob­ably re­ceive roughly the same num­ber of Re­pub­lic­an votes, mean­ing the likely win­ner will be the one who at­tracts the most Demo­crat­ic and in­de­pend­ent sup­port.

In 2009, when he lost a race to City Con­trol­ler Alan Butkovitz, Schmidt still man­aged to win more than 40 per­cent of the vote in the heav­ily Demo­crat­ic Cen­ter City wards.

“I have good reas­on to feel good about Novem­ber,” he said.

Schmidt, of East Falls, won eight of the 14 North­east wards and fin­ished second in the oth­er six. He edged Duda, of Park­wood, by 14 votes over­all in the North­east. Delany, of Frank­ford, man­aged to win sev­er­al small wards out­side the North­east.

Part of Schmidt’s strategy was to call every likely voter in the North­east. U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey also made robo-calls on his be­half.

Schmidt spent elec­tion day at polling places at the May­fair School and the Penn-Crisp Gym on Academy Road. He’ll main­tain his cam­paign of­fice on Ry­an Av­en­ue.

As for Tartagli­one’s de­feat, Schmidt ex­pressed sur­prise, though he noted that she had a bad bal­lot po­s­i­tion and was un­der con­stant at­tack from Sing­er.

••

Bill Ru­bin, the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate in the 10th Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict, pledged last week to not vote for Mari­an Tasco for the Coun­cil pres­id­ency.

Tasco (D-9th dist.) is en­rolled in the De­ferred Re­tire­ment Op­tion Plan (DROP) but is seek­ing re-elec­tion. She de­feated two op­pon­ents in the May 17 Demo­crat­ic primary and is guar­an­teed an­oth­er four years be­cause no Re­pub­lic­an filed to run.

The race for Coun­cil pres­id­ent is ex­pec­ted to come down to Tasco and Coun­cil­man Dar­rell Clarke (D-5th dist.).

Ru­bin said he is look­ing for­ward to dis­cuss­ing such is­sues as prop­erty taxes, school fund­ing, term lim­its and out­side em­ploy­ment by elec­ted of­fi­cials with Re­pub­lic­an in­cum­bent Bri­an O’Neill.

••

John Hanger, former sec­ret­ary of the state De­part­ment of En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion, has en­dorsed Patrick Murphy in next year’s Demo­crat­ic primary for at­tor­ney gen­er­al.

Murphy is a former two-term con­gress­man who lost his seat last year to Re­pub­lic­an Mike Fitzpatrick.

Hanger said the at­tor­ney gen­er­al has a re­spons­ib­il­ity to lock up dan­ger­ous crim­in­als, but also to pro­tect nat­ur­al re­sources and wa­ter sup­plies.

“Pennsylvania is presen­ted with sig­ni­fic­ant chal­lenges, but also tre­mend­ous op­por­tun­it­ies. Patrick un­der­stands that we need a bal­ance,” he said.

“On nat­ur­al gas, he un­der­stands that drilling in the Mar­cel­lus Shale has huge eco­nom­ic po­ten­tial and could aid in the de­vel­op­ment of clean­er en­ergy, but he knows we need to do it right. That means mak­ing sure we have strong en­force­ment of sens­ible reg­u­la­tions that pro­tect our wa­ter sup­ply and pre­serve our en­vir­on­ment in the pro­cess.”

Oth­er pos­sible Demo­crats can­did­ates in­clude former Phil­adelphia Dis­trict At­tor­ney Lynne Ab­ra­ham, former Lack­awanna County As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kath­leen Gra­na­han Kane, and Dan Mc­Caf­fery, who fin­ished second in the 2009 primary for Phil­adelphia DA.

Pos­sible Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates in­clude state Sen. John Raf­ferty of Mont­gomery County, Cum­ber­land County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Dav­id Freed and Mont­gomery County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Risa Vetri Fer­man. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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