It's been a long campaign

I'm sure there will be many wrap-ups and observations on turnout, machines, number of challengers and much else over the next few days. If I had a copy of Michael Nutter's acceptance speech of the Democratic Nomination, I would post it, because he said what needed to be said and he was magnanimous.

There is an update on many of the races here.

It's been a long campaign, and I'm sure there is exhilaration and dissapointment to spare. I should have gone to some parties but after walking for 12 hours today knocking on doors, I had enough. There is time to talk to folks and catch up later.

If you've got stories from the campaign trail or observations on the race, feel free to add them. If you are at YPP here for the first time or the Nth, welcome! Read. Post. Enjoy. STAY.

Kudos to everyone on all the campaigns for all their hard work--I'll get into details later. at Councilman Nutter's party - full recap coming

I had the distinct honor of covering former Councilman Nutter's victory celebration at the Warwick. It was a very late evening, amidst the most rollicking Election Night event I've ever experienced (although, of course, the mood was heightened by the fact that the results were known quickly.) I just got home, in fact.

Anyhow, will have the most thorough coverage and recap of the event - but in stages, b/c I did a lot of interviews and I have a lot to transcribe, accordingly. So please check my site for the coverage, as I post it....


Sir - Hopefully, your recap

Sir -

Hopefully, your recap will include the following information:

Lisa Nutter: fantastic dancer
Michael Nutter: not so much

That will be all.

Volunteering for Michael Nutter

An Observation

While this issue has been bugging me for some time, I waited to post these thoughts until after the election because this is by no means a slam on Nutter and I didn't want this to come across an empty criticism.

I was very frustrated to see the extent of how the media's influence shaped this campaign. A month ago, Nutter didn't have a shot. Yesterday, he won VERY convincingly. What happened in between? To his credit, he had some excellent advertising, easily the best amongst the five candidates, and he has a very devoted following that helped move his message. However, no one can deny that the media's direct embrace of him WEEKS ahead of the primary really was the spark to light the fire.

In a field of 5 candidates, I can understand that based on what is appealing to viewers and readers, it's more media "sexy" to report on a 2 man horse race. No one outside of the political community wants to sit and watch sound bites from five different people at 6 or 10PM as they turn on the news. But at the same time, it makes it nearly impossible for the other 3 candidates to get press coverage, short of covering themselves in tar & feathers and sprinting down Broad St.

Maybe I am off base, and if so please help me understand, but am I alone in thinking that the media came into this campaign way too early? Again, I am not taking away anything from Nutter's victory or the hard work of his campaign staff/volunteers.

The truth is

What happened, IMHO, is that when Brady started hitting Knox, folks started looking to rally around the anti-Knox, and Michael Nutter's saturation advertising occurred around that time. Had the Fattah folk fundraised better and run a broader campaign, it could have been him just as easily.

In agreement

with both of you. As the pundits continue to "analyze" the implications of the election, I think there will much emphasis on more complex theories and less on basic issues such as the ones you raise.


You are right, the anti-Knox wave def did contribute. I think what stumps me more are the polls that showed 21% undecided a month ago, and then pretty much the entirety of that population going to Nutter around the same time the Inky, DN, City Paper, Philly Weekly, and Philly Mag made their endorsements. I'm not trying to sound like a conspiracy theorist blaming the evil media empire for destroying democracy nor am I saying the Nutter camp didn't rightfully earn those votes. I'm just curious as to what the outcome might have been if those major publications withheld their endorsements until last week, for instance.

How do you know if the undecided

voters went to Nutter, or simply didn't vote? Obviously, none of those who remained undecided would be reflected in vote totals. Maybe Nutter's increase came directly at the expense of the other candidates.

I guess

They may not have. I guess I'm jumping to that conclusion because I didn't see a whole lot of movement in the last month from anyone else except for Nutter. But then again, no person or poll could have predicted Fattah's finish.


No poll from 2-3 months ago predicted it, but Monday's SurveyUSA poll got the numbers about exactly.

Knox found that an extra $5M could get him from 22 to 25 %, but Fattah just didn't seem to be on tv enough to make his own move.

The Media

It's pretty difficult to quantify the impact of the media endorsements, but hadn't the local media also been reporting to us previously that Michael was a lone wolf, didn't have a base, didn't have a GOTV operations, etc.?

Not Denying This

The media definitely didn't embrace Nutter initially and I am not saying the media's final endorsement was in some way shady. I was commenting on how early the media chose to make their preferences known, and if that had any sort of impact on the final numbers, especially given a 21% undecided polling. This is just an opinion.

I cannot deny that as an Evans supporter, I am disappointed in how difficult it was for him to get a clear message across when television and newspapers clearly had their favorites and were the ones to really reach that huge chunk of undecideds. Part of that is certainly his campaign strategy, so I am not passing off blame. But trying to be completely objective, when you see such fluidity in the numbers of just one candidate while the others remain consistent with only a few weeks remaining in such a long primary, you have to wonder about what has influenced such an occurrence. Anti-Knox sentiment, message of reform, and excellent advertising by Nutter are all part of the equation. But I think the major papers coming out so early also played a big part in Nutter's surge, so I am simply asking if anyone else had this sort of inclination.

Sleeper Cell

I think that Nutter was underestimated by many, which is why his surge might have surprised them. While there are many variables at play here, I think that what fueled his dramatic gains at the end was the result of a great campaign strategy presenting a great candidate. Michael's worked full-time on this since July, raising money, connecting with voters and decision-makers, and generally laying the groundwork for the surge that you saw at the end that commenced when the television ads began.

Nutter campaign on target

It would be foolish for me to suggest that all of the paper's endorsements of Nutter didn't make a difference. Of course they did. They may have put him over the top.

But what I suggest is that the Nutter campaign knew where it wanted to be all along and it executed extraordinarily well. About a month ago, I was called in a poll and I said that I thought that Nutter had run a lousy campaign up to that point. Today I disagree wholeheartedly.

Nutter wrote the campaign finance reform law, so he knew better than anybody it's limitations and how to work it. What I did not hear anybody say, even in the news media or on any blog that I frequent, that it is capped by year. Nutter began fundraising in a big way last year. In fact, I was invited to two fundraisers in late December of last year, so that they could hit you up in both years. Now I don't have the kind of money to get anywhere close to the limit, but I know some people who do.

So he spends months and months and months raising money. This allowed him to be able to make a bunch of different TV commercials that presented different sides of him. The campaign knew that he didn't come across as warm, fuzzy and lovable. So they presented him at the fundraisers and other events as smart and funny. That's human.

They also knew that he wasn't perceived all that favorably by many African Americans. Olivia was their ingenius answer to that. I will argue that it was Olivia that put him over the top. That humanized him, made him very acceptable to many people across races, and it generated a lot of buzz that attracted attention from the media. It also countered the overwhelming public perception of a dedicated wonk with limited human appeal.

If you look at the array of his different commercials and their timing, it was masterful. At first, he was running against Street (and corruption). Then he was fighting for all of us Philadelphians. Then Olivia's love and respect made him seem like a loving dad and a neighborly, decent guy. Then he had his seven point plan and was kicking the bums out. Then he finished with promoting all of his endorsements.

He was well known in the civic association groups, press, activists, reform and neighborhood groups as a direct, honest, no-nonsense guy that knows how to get things done. His record spoke for itself. He also knew that he had broad respect in the neighborhoods of his 4th councilmanic district. And he also knew he had mostly enthusiastic support from alot of the reform and business types.

Nobody, not even Tom Knox and his $10 million dollars painted themselves more masterfully through his media commercials. I hate to say it, but compare his media campaign with Dwight Evan's table commercial, or Bob Brady's looking through the rear view mirror into his eye's commercial.

I argue that nobody knew his personal strength and weaknesses, the public's perception of him, and the current tide and desires of the Philly electorate better than him and his campaign. But then again, that has always been one of Nutter's strength. You can argue that he was tailoring his campaign to capture the electorate's fanciful ideas. But he will be our next mayor and he will control the agenda.

Now the real WORK starts.

You hit it right on the

You hit it right on the head.

One more thing

Nutter was the only candidate to capitalize on the frustration with John Street and, arguably, the only one who could have -- because I imagine Knox was fearful of such attacks being seen as racial in nature, and having that all backfire on him.

Nutter defined himself as the anti-Street because Brady and Fattah were too close to him to do so, and it really paid off.

Good point. Sometimes, the

Good point. Sometimes, the polarizing nature of John Street is forgotten. But, I think it is clear, Nutter defined his campaign and didn't let the other candidates do it for him.

The Fattah mystery

Going into this campaign, I felt that both Nutter and Fattah had the potential to be an excellent mayor. For whatever reason, though, Fattah basically ran no campaign whatsoever. The thing I got from speaking to representatives from all 5 candidates in my capacity as organizer of Drinking Liberally's Mount Airy chapter was that the two people from the Fattah campaign were clearly the most inspired of anyone. The other representatives clearly all believed in their candidates personally, and in their visions for Philadelphia. But Solomon Jones + LaToya Hackney were clearly genuinely inspired by Fattah, and that struck me distinctly.

It's because Fattah is, so clearly, an inspiring person that I am so mystified about how he could run such an uninspired campaign. It's almost as if he didn't want to win, or as if he thought he would win despite running very little in the way of a campaign. A few signs and a borderline racial slur do not a campaign make. If anything, the slur about Nutter needing to look in the mirror to remind himself that he was black probably cost Fattah votes.

The best things about this election, though, are both that Mike Nutter could be exactly the mayor that Philadelphia needs right now, and that Dwight Evans, Bob Brady, + Chaka Fattah are all well-positioned to help the city which they all clearly love very deeply.


I think Fattah's major flaw

I think Fattah's major flaw was message-related; he chose to largely avoid talking about government reform and crime, redirecting the conversation in each instance to our (very serious) problems with poverty. The problem was that in this election, voters obviously WANTED to have an election centered around the former two subjects; Fattah just never heard them. It wouldn't have been hard for him to emphasize anti-corruption measures a little more, and his performance on crime-related issues during the debates made him look like a panderer and a fake - mostly because he had such a hard time acknowledging that violence was a problem that disproportionately affects the black community, and talked in circles around this issue. Plus, the two major issues in the campaign had such OBVIOUS tie-ins to Fattah's anti-poverty agenda, and he failed to connect them in a way that would get people on board with his campaign.

I will now log off for TWO (2) full days, and hopefully get a lot of work done.

Volunteering for Michael Nutter

The Media?

The media that endorsed Nutter was the same one that had said earlier that he had no chance, no base, was a lone wolf and no field organization, right?

The media won the election for Nutter

Paid media (TV ads). You had Knox alone on the air pounding the Street administration for 3 months, defining the election as about reform, ending pay to play, stopping coruption. Knox jumped into the lead on the ads and the message but his numbers hit a ceiling and then didn't budge beyond the mid-20s. Anti-Knox attacks also softened his support while everyone ignored Nutter. Then Nutter comes in on March 25, and identifies himself, correctly, as the anti-Street reform guy on Council. He follows that up with the humanizing Olivia ad. It's a one-two punch that neither Brady nor Fattah can match. They can't paint themselves as anti-Street and their respective messages have already been overwhlemed by the agenda set by Knox. Game over.

I absolutely agree. The

I absolutely agree. The only thing I would add is that both Fattah and Brady just failed to connect with voters. They seemed way to old school (i.e., not about serious change to win.)

Olivia Nutter's ad was brilliant b/c it humanized him and sealed off criticism about his "blackness". (His wife has locks, his daughter is a normal black child to me. She goes to public school. There house is normal.) It made the attacks petty b/c he had connected personally with voters.

It was over after that.

I do not work for/support any candidate for any office in Philadelphia.

yep! tom knox...what a lucky

tom knox...what a lucky break for nutter!

thank god joe trippi can read a poll. it would have been harder without tom knox.

and as for the rest of the comments...newspaper endorsements maybe affect 5 percent of the electorate.

working for Ellen Green-Ceisler for Judge

What money cannot buy

There are two things that money can't buy, true love and homegrown tomatoes. Add to that a third thing, being the Mayor of Philadelphia.

isnt it amazing????

isn't it cool?

I do think we have too much heart to be bought. Maybe NY but not us!

However ... lou ... I have these great homegrown tomatoes to sell you..

working for Ellen Green-Ceisler for Judge

Part I of Campaignia's report from Nutter HQ - more to follow

Hello, all-

Part I has now been posted at

This part contains a complete transcript of Councilman Nutter's initial press remarks at 9 PM, as well as interviews of volunteers. More will come as I transcribe more tape.

You can also visit the main page at


Update - 11:11 PM Wednesday

An extremely candid interview with former GOP mayoral candidate Sam Katz at Nutter's HQ, where he describes his thoughts on how the campaign turned out and why Councilman Nutter was successful.

Nutter HQ Election Coverage Now Complete

Hello, all-

As the subject line notes, Campaignia's report is now complete - there was a lot of audiotape to transcribe... There is a chronology of events from Tuesday from just a little before 9 PM, till victory was claimed. Down at the bottom, there is the extraordinarily candid analysis from former Republican mayoral candidate Sam Katz, who was in attendance.

Just go to-

Per the original post by mdcphilly, where he wishes to have a copy of the victory speech - FYI:

The official campaign site has a video of it that you can play.

Comments, reactions, etc., welcome ...

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