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Michael Nutter promotes his campaign in Houston Hall

After visiting Temple University, Philadelphia Mayor and Penn alumnus Michael Nutter made his loyalties clear.

“I have to go see other schools from time to time as well,” Nutter joked, “but you know where I stand with Penn.”

Nutter was in Houston Hall Thursday to receive an official endorsement from the Penn Democrats in his mayoral campaign for re-election.

Currently, Nutter faces one other opponent in the Democratic primary in May, a vast difference from the crowded five-candidate field from which Nutter emerged in 2007.

Milton Street, Nutter’s only Democratic opponent, completed a 30-month sentence in federal prison for tax evasion in November.

Given the lack of strong competition in the election — many do not view Street as a real threat to Nutter’s re-election — the Penn Dems’ endorsement was more a symbol of the relationship between them and the politician, dating back to the previous mayoral election.

Penn Dems gave Nutter his “first organized group endorsement” when he was still considered an underdog in the 2007 Democratic primary field, Nutter said.

“I’ll never, ever forget that,” Nutter said. “It’s hard to explain how important your support is and was.”

“We don’t need to endorse him and then go knock on 10,000 doors for him this time ... the endorsement is more a reflection” of the strong relationship between Nutter and Penn Dems, said Emma Ellman-Golan, a College junior and Penn Dems’ current legislative director and former president.

Nutter’s appearance is more a “symbolic gesture than anything that’s going to make a difference at the ballot box,” St. Joseph’s University History professor and political analyst Randall Miller said.

Since the primary elections take place after the end of classes, few students are likely to vote, Ellman-Golan said. Given this and the lack of a strong opponent, Nutter is drumming up support for his policies and his party, Miller explained.

“You also don’t know what kind of future ambitions he has beyond being mayor,” Miller added.

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