Mayor Michael Nutter and Republican candidate Karen Brown squared off yesterday at Fox29 studios in the first mayoral debate, which is scheduled to air on Fox 29 Friday at 10:30 p.m.
The debate, moderated by Fox29’s Thomas Drayton, went largely as expected with the underdog Brown making fiesty claims against Nutter, most of which he deflected as inaccurate. Both got a little testy as they discussed crime, jobs, taxes, education and the relationship with the city’s unions.
Brown, who switched from the Democratic party to challenge Nutter, wasted no time in attacking the incumbent on his failure to cut homicides by 30 percent — a promise Nutter made during his inauguration.
“I think I should be re-elected for that and a number of reasons. I said that was our goal and that remains our goal,” Nutter responded. “While we have not reached our goal, a 22 percent drop in homicides is fairly significant.”
On the issue of education, Brown said she would like to see the state-implemented School Reform Commission eliminated and replaced with a local school board, claiming the SRC is “so distant from the problem.” Nutter, however, said he does not foresee a change coming from state lawmakers and that he expects to name a second SRC appointee very soon.
Brown boasted that she is not a politician and claimed she would make the city more business-friendly.
“He’s a true politician. He can spin it so it comes out all rosy,” she said.
Five things we saw
1. Nutter may wear ‘mom jeans’ and run “Rapper’s Delight” into the ground, but he’s pretty quick with the wit.
2. Brown could use some media coaching. Most of her 90-second closing statement was delivered while looking into the wrong camera.
3. Brown indirectly accused Nutter of being responsible for flash mobs.
4. Independent candidate Wali Rahman, who was left out of the debate, protested outside Fox29’s studios.
5. After the debate, Brown and Nutter mixed it up off-camera in front of media at the elevators on their way out.