Northeast Times

It’s a blowout for Butkovitz in primary

City Con­trol­ler Alan Butkovitz ar­rives at a post elec­tion cel­eb­ra­tion at the Palm res­taur­ant in Cen­ter City Tues­day after Butkovitz was re-elec­ted. (Brad Lar­ris­on)

City Con­trol­ler Alan Butkovitz was con­fid­ent head­ing in­to the May 21 Demo­crat­ic primary, but did not ex­pect a blo­wout vic­tory.

Butkovitz, though, rolled to a smash­ing win.

The in­cum­bent cap­tured 61 per­cent of the vote, eas­ily out­dis­tan­cing run­ner-up Brett Man­del, who re­ceived 31 per­cent. At­tor­ney Mark Zecca trailed with 8 per­cent.

Four years ago, there was more drama. Butkovitz won a three-way race with just 42 per­cent of the vote. John Brax­ton took 30 per­cent, and Man­del had 28 per­cent.

“The last time, I beat him by 14 per­cent. I doubled the mar­gin. Thirty points is mind blow­ing,” Butkovitz said.

In the gen­er­al elec­tion, Butkovitz will face Re­pub­lic­an Terry Tracy, a busi­ness­man from Fitler Square.

Man­del, former dir­ect­or of fin­an­cial and policy ana­lys­is un­der Con­trol­ler Jonath­an Saidel, emailed sup­port­ers to say that elec­tion night was frus­trat­ing.

“Our voters did not vote,” he said, not­ing that about 690,000 Phil­adelphi­ans voted for pres­id­ent last Septem­ber and only 63,000 or so voted for con­trol­ler.

Man­del, who gathered with sup­port­ers at the Side­car Bar at 22nd and Chris­ti­an streets in South Phil­adelphia, ran as a “budget bull­dog,” prom­ising to provide more in­form­a­tion about city spend­ing. He now plans to spend more time with his fam­ily and friends, play base­ball and at­tend Phil­lies games. He is hop­ing for in­creased civic en­gage­ment across Phil­adelphia.

“When we turn around and re­gard the sorry state of so much in this could-be-great city, we have to ac­know­ledge that when we do not par­ti­cip­ate in the races that choose our lead­ers, we leave it up to oth­ers to choose them,” he said. “Let’s to­geth­er as­pire to do so much bet­ter in the fu­ture.”

Butkovitz cel­eb­rated his vic­tory at The Palm res­taur­ant in Cen­ter City. A Castor Gar­dens res­id­ent, he was a state rep­res­ent­at­ive for 15 years be­fore be­ing elec­ted con­trol­ler in 2005.

In look­ing at his land­slide vic­tory, Butkovitz thinks he cut in­to Man­del’s sup­port among pro­gress­ives.

The in­cum­bent be­lieves voters re­war­ded him for in­vest­ig­a­tions of mis­man­age­ment at the sher­iff’s of­fice, some charter schools and the School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia, along with his re­com­mend­a­tions for the city to save money, col­lect out­stand­ing taxes and run more ef­fi­ciently.

“We have a sub­stan­tial re­cord,” he said. “My whole repu­ta­tion was made fight­ing the powers that be at the school dis­trict.”

Butkovitz has long been a crit­ic of the city’s Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive, which cal­cu­lates prop­erty taxes based on what a home or busi­ness would sell for at the cur­rent time. The city pre­vi­ously used a for­mula, and some homeown­ers worry that their taxes will rise un­der the new sys­tem.

“AVI was a huge is­sue,” Butkovitz said.

••

In oth­er city races, Dis­trict At­tor­ney Seth Wil­li­ams, a Demo­crat, was un­op­posed in the primary. So was Re­pub­lic­an chal­lenger Danny Al­varez, a law­yer from Somer­ton.

In the race for three seats on Mu­ni­cip­al Court, the Demo­crat­ic win­ners were Mar­tin Cole­man, Henry Le­wan­dowski and Fran Shields, all of whom were en­dorsed by the party. They are guar­an­teed to be elec­ted in Novem­ber be­cause there were no Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates, Shields, of Lawndale, has served on Mu­ni­cip­al Court since last Ju­ly, when he was ap­poin­ted by Gov. Tom Corbett. Among those at­tend­ing his vic­tory party at the sprink­ler fit­ters uni­on hall in the Far North­east were state Reps. Ed Neilson and Brendan Boyle and loc­al uni­on bosses Pat Ei­ding and Wayne Miller.

“I’m thrilled. I love the job. It’s been a great ex­per­i­ence,” Shields said.

The six Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ees for Com­mon Pleas Court seats are Timi­ka Lane; Joe Fernandes, of Somer­ton; Anne Mar­ie Coyle, of the Far North­east; Dan Mc­Caf­fery, of East Tor­res­dale; Gio­vanni Camp­bell; and Si­erra Thomas Street.

Coyle is a Re­pub­lic­an who did not have the Demo­crat­ic en­dorse­ment, but did have the No. 1 bal­lot spot. She will also be on the GOP tick­et, vir­tu­ally as­sur­ing that she’ll be the top vote-get­ter in the gen­er­al elec­tion.

Thomas Street also won without the en­dorse­ment. The two en­dorsed can­did­ates to lose were Le­on King and Dawn Tan­credi, who fin­ished 550 votes be­hind Street. Tan­credi is the law­yer for res­id­ents op­posed to a planned meth­adone clin­ic at Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Dec­atur Street.

The three en­dorsed Demo­crats eas­ily won the primary for Traffic Court. They are Omar Sabir, Fox Chase res­id­ent Donna DeR­ose and Marnie Aument-Loughrey.

The state le­gis­lature is con­sid­er­ing ab­ol­ish­ing the troubled court. It’s pos­sible those can­did­ates will nev­er serve as judges if the state passes a bill re­pla­cing the cur­rent sys­tem with hear­ing ex­am­iners.

••

Statewide, in the Demo­crat­ic primary for Su­per­i­or Court, Al­legheny County Com­mon Pleas Court Judge Jack McVay de­feated Phil­adelphia Mu­ni­cip­al Court Judge Joe Wa­ters, 55 per­cent to 45 per­cent. Wa­ters had the party en­dorse­ment, but was hurt by the small turnout in Phil­adelphia and a his­tory of Demo­crats in cent­ral and west­ern Pennsylvania vot­ing against Phil­adelphi­ans.

McVay will take on Re­pub­lic­an Vic Sta­bile, a Har­ris­burg law­yer, who was un­op­posed. ••

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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