Next mayor could come from Council

Philadelphians may have already cast their ballots, but one of the most important city elections is still undecided.

City Council will vote for a new president in January. According to political watchdog group Committee of Seventy, the race is of particular importance because of speculation that Mayor Michael Nutter would leave before his term is over for a position on the national stage. In this case, the Council president would become acting mayor.

“I’ve heard rumors that Mayor Nutter may run for U.S. Senate, but it’s all speculation at this point,” said Councilman Jim Kenney, who added that any position Nutter took with the Obama administration would be a “dead end” because it would occur during the president’s second term, if he even wins one next year.

Candidates for Council president are Marian Tasco, Darrell Clarke and Kenney, who threw his hat in the ring Wednesday as a compromise candidate.

“It didn’t seem like anybody was getting close to the nine votes needed,” he said Thursday. “I’ve been here for a full five terms and I think I have the capability, if either side is deadlocked and one side or the other needs another candidate to choose.”

Clarke’s on-the-record supporters include Councilman Curtis Jones and newly-elected Councilman Dennis O’Brien, who announced his support Wednesday. Mayor Nutter, who does not have a vote, is said to prefer Tasco, as Clarke is a protege of former mayor John Street.

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