Nutter wins second term
The 1979 Wharton graduate won with about 75 percent
November 8, 2011, 9:47 pm·
Elizabeth Jacobs | DP
Kenny Kasper | DP
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is back for round two.
Nutter, the incumbent Democrat and 1979 Wharton graduate, was re-elected Nov. 8. The race was called at about 9 p.m., an hour after polls closed.
With about 96 percent of precincts reporting, Nutter had about 75 percent of the vote. Republican challenger Karen Brown procured about 22 percent of the vote and Independent candidate Wali Rahman garnered about 3 percent. Brown was originally a democrat, but switched political parties to run against Nutter.
Brown, who had a hard time being recognized by the public, congratulated Nutter for his win — but urged him to “start listening to the little guy” as well as “working class, firemen and cops” while in office.
It’s easy to win when you have the machine and the money,” Brown said. “He really didn’t win, because we showed him that” the city isn’t completely satisfied.
Nutter previously sat on city council from 1992-2006 before he was elected as mayor in 2007.
The election was marked by low voter turnout despite unseasonably warm weather and school closings. Turnout ranged from 17 to 36 percent depending on the district, according to the Committee of Seventy, a nonpartisan organization which aims to raise public awareness about political issues and elections.
Many people felt like Mayor Nutter was a “shoo-in,” often causing them to decide not to vote, said Emma Chappell, a staffer for Democratic mobilization group Organizing for America. Chappell spent Election Day calling residents to remind them to vote.
Municipal elections typically see pretty low turnouts for Penn students as well, Penn Democrats President and College senior Isabel Friedman said. Penn Democrats pledged support to Nutter last spring.
Poll booths in Houston Hall received 58 ballots, according to the Penn Dems.
After the election results were announced, Nutter addressed a packed ballroom of his supporters at the Radisson Warwick Hotel on 17th and Locust streets. His 16-year-old daughter, Olivia, introduced him.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Nutter said, stressing his continued efforts to improving education, creating jobs and reducing crime in the city.
Since Nutter entered office four years ago, violent crime has decreased 16 percent, with homicides down 22 percent. High-school graduation rates also hit above 60 percent for the first time, and test scores have risen for nine-straight years.
“I speak to you as a kid from West Philadelphia,” he said. “I have a debt to the city of Philadelphia. I plan to pay that debt with my service.”
Another incumbent also won another term. Democratic Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell retained her seat representing the Third District, which contains University City. With about 92 percent of precincts reporting, Blackwell grabbed nearly 90 percent of the vote while her Independent opponent Alicia Burbage took the remaining votes.
Also on the ballot was a proposed charter change that was okayed by voters, instating a mandatory budget stabilization reserve — a “rainy-day fund” which would serve to prepare the city to meet any fiscal emergencies.
Voters also passed a bond issuance allowing the city to borrow just over $111 million earmarked for transportation, streets and sanitation, municipal buildings, parks, recreation and museums and economic and community development.
In the race for Philadelphia sheriff, Democratic State Rep. Jewell Williams prevailed. The previous sheriff, John Green, held the office for 23 years before retiring in 2010. The sheriff’s position has been called “needless” by the Committee of Seventy.