HomeNewsFeatherman discusses election’s aftermath

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

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