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PHL-15: Oliver Formally Announces Mayoral Bid

doug-oliverDoug Oliver is in.

The former spokesman to Mayor Michael Nutter officially declared his bid for the Democratic mayoral nomination Saturday. In his announcement, he stressed two qualities he believes give him an advantage: his age and his sparse political experience.

Oliver, 40, is the youngest candidate in the race by 16 years. But, to him, that’s a benefit in a city whose demographics he said “are getting younger and younger.”

“Young people can truly disrupt this race if they chose to do so,” Oliver said in the speech announcing his candidacy, citing the 345,000 registered Philadelphia voters under 35.

Oliver juxtaposed himself with the other Democratic candidates, each of whom have held political offices at the city or state level. He is a fresh face, “not a politician,” he said to the crowd Saturday.

“The change Philadelphia needs is real and it is urgent,” Oliver said. “We cannot rely on the old guard or the political establishment to make that change. If they haven’t created the change by now, it is because they are unwilling or don’t know how.”

Oliver joins fellow candidates State Sen. Anthony Williams; former District Attorney Lynne Abraham; former Common Pleas Court Judge Nelson Diaz; and former City Councilman Jim Kenney, who just announced his campaign Wednesday.

Since November, Oliver had been exploring a run for mayor. He resigned from his job as senior vice president of marketing and communication at the beginning of January, following complaints from Kenney about the potential candidate’s air time in a commercial for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Kenney argued Oliver’s appearance in the commercial gave him valuable “face time” with voters, an unfair advantage paid for by PGW.

But Oliver would need more than one unfair advantage to truly compete with his fellow candidates. With little name recognition or financial support and no political experience, Oliver is considered a long-shot candidate with little chance of winning the nomination.

One more candidate may join the crowded Democratic field. Former State Sen. T. Milton Street is expected to announce a candidacy later in the month.

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