Nutter vs. Katz and Street?

As the conventional wisdom of Philly politics go, Sam Katz’s dreams of elected office died with his 2003 rematch loss to John Street, and Michael Nutter is guaranteed re-election next year. Is the grapevine wrong?

The story leading to recent rumors that Katz may mount a 2011 quest for City Hall started a few months ago. Katz and former Philadelphia Magazine editor Larry Platt agreed Street would make a great interview for the “Sam Katz Power Lunch” feature.

At their first meal, they agreed a Nutter challenge was intriguing, so the article was never written.

“People forget that 1999 was a political miracle for Sam to lose by [7,228] votes in a city that overwhelmingly votes Democrat, and that you can throw 2003 out the window because of ‘The Bug,’” Platt said. “It’s pretty intriguing.”

As word of Street “courting” Katz — who has switched party affiliation — to run in the Democratic primary spread last month, Katz met with numerous African-American leaders to gauge whether he’d garner support in a traditionally anti-Katz bloc. As ambassador, Street could help overcome that. Katz declined to comment, but is said not to see “any huge roadblocks” precluding a run. He’s not expected to decide until mid-October at the earliest.

“He can raise money, is articulate and passionate about politics and the city,” Street said. “The city could use a good political debate about its future no matter how you feel about the incumbent or any challenger.”

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