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.”