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Gillen Announces Philadelphia Mayoral Run

terry-gillenTerry Gillen announced today that she is running to be Mayor of Philadelphia.

Gillen, the city’s first director of federal affairs, stressed an innovative campaign strategy, one that would break the mold of the political machine, so closely associated with Philadelphia’s past.

“I think that whole notion of how one gets elected in Philly is going away,” Gillen declared. “It’s changing. I think Mayor Nutter’s election was the beginning of that.  And I think we’re really on the verge of reshaping Philadelphia politics in a fundamental way.”

Stressing her past experience with two of the cities most prominent mayors, Gillen stated, “I think what people are looking for is someone who knows how to run a city, to be an executive and has experience in urban policy. I think I have all that.”

Defeated in her previous runs for City Council in 1999 and for the State House in 2004, Gillen, has started accepting funds for the upcoming race by way of a newly formed political action committee.

Among those expected to challenge for the Democratic nomination for Mayor are former City Solicitor Ken Trujillo, State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, City Controller Alan Butkovitz.

Councilman Jim Kenney, former Councilman Frank Rizzo Jr., and City Council President Darrell Clarke are also rumored to be in the hunt.

14 Responses

  1. Commissioner Singer?

    The last two articles I saw about her contained her being viciously insulted by the spokeswomen for DA Williams and Council President Clarke. She clearly isn’t taken very seriously in the city. That’s the biggest obstacle to a female mayor in Philly. The bench isn’t strong. Shirley Kitchen would likely be the best choice and she is uninterested.

  2. Dude-
    I’ve felt that Philly was due for a female mayor for some time now. For years I’ve half-joked with Commissioner Singer that she could be the first female mayor of Philadelphia. She’s certainly has more brains and integrity than any other holder of that office than I can think of.

  3. Right on all sectors Robbie, although I don’t think she’s a first class administrator. She’s more of a hack.

    Clarke and Kenney will never give up their council seats for an election they might not win.

    Tony Williams Vs Butkovitz features the two most powerful factions post-Fattah, but two of their least inspiring members. I really wish Bill Green and Seth Williams were running instead, but Green is a martyr and Williams wants to be AG. I don’t see anyone else having much of a shot. It will be interesting to see if the Street/Clarke Group is able to get their people to vote for Butkovitz or not.

    David Diano-You have more enthusiasm for women in politics than most women do. Most voters would be glad to support a strong female candidate. This is a city that had a female DA for over a decade, after all. Terry Gillen is not that strong female. Blondell Reynolds Brown, Cindy Bass, and Maria Quinones-Sanchez aren’t either.

  4. Dude – You’re right, I failed to mention Marty Weinberg.

    Think – You’re right that Terry Gillen is a good administrator and bad at politics. She should be happy as a good administrator and not get carried away thinking she can win running for office. Nobody in the neighborhoods or the Northeast knows who she is. She only resonates in Center City (that’s why she got crushed in 1999 for City Council) and she doesn’t even do well in Center City (that’s why she got crushed in a 2004 House race for an all Center City district by the ineffective Babette Josephs). She admires Nutter and Rendell, but neither Nutter nor Rendell will endorse or raise $ for her in the primary.

    Tony Williams will run, Alan Butkovitz will run and Ken Trujillo will run. Darrell Clarke won’t run. Jim Kenney won’t run. Frank Rizzo Jr. might run, but who cares. Tony Williams or Butkovitz will win. The candidates who can win won’t announce until after the 2014 election. That’s an example of how bad Terry Gillen is at politics. Major Dem donors and supporters don’t like her announcing before the 2014 election. Those Dem donors and supporters are complaining she should have used Sept. and Oct. to get Wolf elected Gov., and there would be enough time to raise $ before the end of year deadline.

  5. Terry Gillen is a First Class Administrator and Technocrat. A consummate insider.

    She is not the person you want for Mayor. There is a reason why she lost her City Council and State House races.

    If she has not figured out by now, then time is being wasted on all sides. She’s not ready for the people of Philadelphia. And the people, twice, have said their dont want her.

  6. Except “Terry” is not actually a very definitively feminine name, so a lot of low ID voters will not even realize she is a woman while voting.

    Also, Robbie, you forgot about Marty Weinberg in the 99 race.

  7. Robbie

    I said it *helps* her. I didn’t say it gives her the election. It helps for low-information voters that if all they see is a name something is distinguishing. It’s similar, but not exactly, to regional preference in state-wide primaries (take a look at the LG race this year). If people know nothing about any of the candidates going in, they are likely to pick the one that stands out. For better or for worse.

    Now, in a mayoral election, there’s likely to be fewer low information voters so the effect would be diminished. My point was it could help Gillen in that it only help, couldn’t hurt. It’s maybe worth a point or two.

  8. About being the only woman on the ballot, ask the late Happy Fernandez how much that matters. Happy Fernandez was a 2-term Councilwoman and the only woman to run for Mayor in the 1999 Democratic primary, against John Street, John White, and Dwight Evans. Despite being the only woman in the race and having an existing electoral base, Happy Fernandez finished in a very distant last place with just a few % of the vote. Thinking that women are obedient servant voters who will vote blindly for other women without using their own judgement is outdated and just plain offensive. Most women are not even close to that simple-minded. For example, if it was that simple, why didn’t Hillary Clinton win the 2008 Democratic primaries for President. There were more female voters (and while female voters) than black voters (male and female) in the Democratic primary of almost every state.

    Nutter was a popular City Councilman representing 125,000 for more than a decade before running for Mayor. Just as almost every President (and major elected official) has lost an election, almost every President (and major elected official) has won an election before winning the bigger prize. The way you overcome not having been elected to a lower office first is having a lot of personal money to spend or being an excellent fundraiser (even then its hard). Gillen has neither that much personal money or fundraising ability.

    Gillen has never been elected to any office, and I’d be surprised if even 125,000 Philadelphians have heard her name before. Gillen doesn’t have the personal money that puts here close to the other major candidates. Gillen has been involved as a minor player in Center City politics a while, but she has never been known as an important fundraiser.

    About a change in Philly politics, most people know Nutter 2007 was an aberration, not the new rule about Philly politics.

  9. Mayfair

    You have to go back a long way to find a president that never lost an election. Politicians are in the business of running for office, and sometimes they lose. That’s just kind of how it is.

    That said, I think Gillen might be overstating it about how things are going to ‘change’ in Philly elections. Certainly Nutter wasn’t the choice of the machine in ’07, but for various reasons unrelated to the machine, a lot of people are regretting making that choice. If she’s going to hold on to Nutter’s legacy, I don’t know that it’s going to help her.

    That said, if she’s the only woman in a crowded field, it certainly helps her.

  10. Mayfair Dem-
    A 1999 run is hardly “current events” to be considered indicative of a current run. Even 2004 is still over a decade away.

    Given all the men on the ticket, a lone female candidate might be able to pick up enough support, if the men split the male vote and have weak female support.

    She certain sounds like she’s got the experience to do the job.

    But, I have NO idea how she will be on the stump, debates and fundraising.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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