On Saturday, Philadelphia’s will formally welcome its newest candidate.
According to a press release sent out this week, Doug Oliver is set to officially enter the ring on Saturday. He will announce his candidacy at the Flying Horse Center in Germantown.
Oliver served as Mayor Michael Nutter’s press secretary from January 2008 to September 2010. Oliver then became the vice president of marketing and corporate communications at city-owned utility Philadelphia Gas Works, a position he held until earlier this month.
His resignation from PGW came with controversy. While still a PGW employee, Oliver starred in a television advertisement for PGW’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
As a prospective candidate, Oliver’s appearance in a publicly funded advertisement prompted calls for an ethics violation. Former City Councilman Jim Kenney, another mayoral candidate, remarked to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “You don’t get free face time on the rate-payer’s dime. It’s not complicated.”
While appearing in the advertisements, Oliver had an exploratory committee consider a run for mayor. He said that he had appeared in similar advertisements in past years.
Only days after Kenney made a formal complaint, Oliver resigned from his post at PGW. Oliver denied being forced out, and he cited Philadelphia’s “resign to run” rule as reason for his departure.
The “resign to run” policy prevents public employees from running for public office while still employed by the city.
Oliver’s announcement on Saturday will pit him against state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, former City Solicitor Nelson Diaz and Kenney, whose accusations against Oliver will almost certainly be readdressed during the campaign.
Early predictions disfavor Oliver’s chances due to his close association with the Nutter administration. After two terms with Nutter as mayor, voters will likely desire a shift in administrative practices. Furthermore, Oliver appears politically inconsistent to voters. Oliver registered as a Republican in 2010 but changed his party affiliation to Democrat in 2012. With Philadelphia’s last nine mayors being Democratic, Oliver’s move appears less an ideological shift in his beliefs and more a pragmatic way to increase his appeal to a majorly Democratic electorate.
Oliver also lacks name recognition among city voters and support from Philadelphia’s Democrats, who have mostly aligned with Williams, Kenney and Abraham.
Saturday should provide a barometer for which issues Oliver will focus on in the election.Comments powered by Disqus
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