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Michael Nutter sweeps through the mayoral elections to a satisfying victory. . Credit: Rebeca Martinez

Political analysts may have failed to predict the primaries, but they sure were right this time around.

Once in last place in the polls for the Democratic primary, Michael Nutter was officially voted Philadelphia's next mayor yesterday, garnering a record-breaking 83 percent of the vote with 97 percent of precincts reporting. Republican nominee Al Taubenberger garnered 17 percent of the vote, according to The Associated Press.

The results ended an unusually civil general election between Nutter, a virtual lock to win the election because of the city's Democratic registration advantage, and Taubenberger, who never mounted a serious challenge.

Shortly after Taubenberger conceded, an exuberant and emotional crowd of over 200 people, many donned in red shirts and carrying red and white campaign signs, packed into the ballroom of the Warwick Hotel last night to hear Nutter's victory speech.

After a few humorous anecdotes from Nutter's father and wife, the former councilman took the stage at about 10:15 p.m. to declare victory and thank his supporters.

"This is the beginning of change," he said over cries of "God Bless you, Mike!" and "Way to go, Mike!" from the crowd.

"They said Philadelphia is corrupt, and it will be politics as usual," Nutter told the crowd. "They said that we're a city whose time has passed. Well, they were wrong. They didn't know you. But I did."

Nutter fired up the crowd by emphasizing his commitment to "working together" with city residents to lower the crime rate, improve the educational system and bring jobs to Philadelphia.

"This campaign was about shared sacrifice," he said. "It was about shared responsibility. It was about shared hope. Together, we can clean up this city."

During the speech, Nutter asked for a moment of silence to honor Philadelphia's crime victims, including Philadelphia Police Officer Chuck Cassidy, who was shot and killed last week in a botched robbery attempt.

Nutter won a closely contested five-way primary this past May.

A 1979 Wharton graduate, he made ethics reform the hallmark of his campaign, positioning himself as the solution to the "pay-to-pay" politics of current Mayor John Street.

Nutter's backing of ethics reform and smoking-ban legislation during his tenure as councilman gained the respect of a lot of voters, said supporter and life-long Philadelphia resident James Benson.

"He was right on all the issues," he said. "Nutter is totally ethical, honest, smart, and most importantly, he knows the city."

Nutter's public disagreements with Street also helped solidify the candidate's reputation as a competent reformer, allowing him to catch up in the polls from last place to win the Democratic primary by over ten percent.

In City Council's at-large races, all of the incumbents won, possibly with the exception of Republican Jack Kelly, who was trailing David Oh by a razor-thin margin as of press time.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who represents Penn's district, won handily, as expected.

Democrats Seamus McCaffery and Deborah Todd won in the state Supreme Court race, giving the party a one-person advantage on the bench.

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