State Rep. Dennis O’Brien is favored to be elected to City Council on Nov. 8, which would leave his 169th Legislative District seat vacant.
Assuming he resigns at the end of the year, a special election would probably take place either in early March or on April 24, the day of the primary.
Republicans eyeing the seat include attorney Anne Marie Coyle, City Council aide Tim Gerard and Dave Kralle, an aide to O’Brien.
Democrats mentioned as likely candidates include ward leader Shawn Dillon, local FOP president John McNesby and Ed Neilson, a former official with the local electricians union who worked in the administration of Gov. Ed Rendell.
Complicating matters is the ongoing redistricting process, which happens every 10 years after census figures are released.
Officials in both major parties have indicated that the 169th district might be taken out of Philadelphia and moved to a fast-growing area, such as Monroe, York, Lancaster or Chester counties.
“I heard that’s a possibility,” said Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.), who is not involved in the overall effort to lay out district lines for all 203 seats.
Taylor expects the boundaries to be announced by the end of October.
Two other Philadelphia representatives, Jewell Williams and Kenyatta Johnson, are expected to be elected as sheriff and to City Council, respectively, but their districts are likely to be preserved.
If the 169th district moves, the territory will probably be divided among Democratic Reps. Brendan Boyle, Mike McGeehan, John Sabatina Jr. and others.
A decade ago, after Republican Rep. Chris Wogan was elected to Common Pleas Court, his 176th Legislative District seat was moved to Monroe County.
Republicans made the shift because demographic changes in Lawndale, Crescentville and Summerdale favored Democrats. The Republican divisions in Fox Chase and Burholme were given to then-GOP Reps. John Perzel and George Kenney. On the surface, there appears to be enough Republican-friendly territory in the city to maintain the 169th, but state Republicans apparently have other ideas.
Meanwhile, Taylor will likely take in a good bit of Mayfair in the 55th and maybe 64th wards under the new map. Thirty percent of his new district will probably consist of new constituents.
“I’m definitely going north,” the Northwood resident said.
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Former City Controller Jonathan Saidel, a Democrat who served as the city’s fiscal watchdog for 16 years, last week endorsed Republican Al Taubenberger for an at-large City Council seat.
Saidel has known Taubenberger for 30 years and called the candidate to ask him if he wanted his support. Taubenberger, of course, accepted.
“It’s important to get the best possible people in City Council, and Al is that person,” Saidel said.
The announcement came at the Dining Car restaurant in Holmesburg.
Saidel, of Bustleton, lauded Taubenberger’s work as president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He described the chamber as perhaps Philadelphia’s most powerful economic organization outside Center City.
In Council, Saidel expects Taubenberger to refrain from divisive partisan politics and be a responsive lawmaker.
If elected, Taubenberger — who was crushed by Democrat Michael Nutter in the 2007 mayor’s race — said he would support tax policies that create new jobs, attract new businesses and protect existing jobs.
“We need someone who understands the language of business and neighborhoods,” said Taubenberger, the longtime president of the Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association.
The top seven finishers in the at-large race are elected. The five Democrats are shoo-ins based on their party’s voter-registration advantage.
Two Republicans will join them. The other GOP candidates are David Oh, Denny O’Brien, Joe McColgan and Michael Untermeyer. Saidel indicated that he would probably also endorse O’Brien. He declined to say which two Democrats he will not support.
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Joe McColgan, a Republican candidate for an at-large Council seat, is applauding last week’s resignation of School Reform Commission chairman Robert Archie.
McColgan favors abolition of the SRC and creation of an elected school board.
“For too long, Philadelphia’s school children were led by individuals who didn’t deliver on the promises of a better tomorrow,” he said. “While this is a positive step toward fixing a broken school system, Archie’s resignation does not solve our problems.
“I continue to call on leaders in Harrisburg to repeal the SRC and allow Philadelphia’s voters to elect regional school boards who will answer to them. Sixty-six out of sixty-seven counties in Pennsylvania are working with elected school boards, why can’t we? It’s time to take bold steps to save our children’s — and Philadelphia’s — future.”
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Mayor Michael Nutter and Republican challenger Karen Brown will debate on Oct. 4 at Fox 29 studios. The debate will be broadcast on Friday, Oct. 7, at 10:30 p.m.
Brown plans to discuss the vacancy created when Arlene Ackerman accepted a lucrative buyout as superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia.
“Why not go local?” she asked about the successor to Ackerman, who previously headed the school systems in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. “Why do we always seek people outside our city? Why not hire our own?”
Brown also will fault Nutter on real estate and sales tax increases.
“He’s never been one to lower taxes or keep them where they are in the four years he’s been there,” she said.
Brown would like a big audience for the debate, but thinks many senior citizens could be in bed by 10:30. Also, it is Yom Kippur.
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State Rep. Eugene DePasquale, of York County, is building support toward his run for the Democratic nomination for auditor general.
A Pittsburgh native and a married father of two, he was elected in 2006. He is a lawyer and formerly served as the city of York’s director of economic development and as the state Department of Environmental Protection’s deputy secretary for community revitalization and local government support.
The lawmaker has the support of 14 Democratic county chairs, along with former DEP secretary John Hanger, in his bid for higher office.
“By being the first legislator to post his expenses online and by refusing to accept pay raises in the legislature, Eugene has shown his real dedication to reforming government,” Hanger said.
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David Lynn, president of DAL Services Inc., has launched a Web site that features free software to run political campaigns in Pennsylvania.
Visitors to http://papolcm.com can access voter files and demographics information and file reports to the Pennsylvania Department of State.
“My goal is to level the playing field,” Lynn said. “Elections have become big business in Pennsylvania, and I want to assist candidates, especially new candidates, of any party in gaining the advantages of entrenched incumbents.” ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org