The campaign committee of Philadelphia Controller Alan Butkovitz – a potential mayoral candidate next year – has hired a nationally renowned media strategist whose most impressive recent victory was a write-in campaign that elected Mike Duggan as mayor of Detroit.
Butkovitz is prohibited by the City Charter from saying that he's running for mayor without first resigning his current job. In an interview late Tuesday, he said his committee, Friends of Alan Butkovitz, had hired Joe Slade White & Company for "whatever I'm doing next." He said he still had not made a decision about the 2015 mayoral race.
(Butkovitz, a former state representative from Northeast Philadelphia, won his third term as controller in November. It's unlikely he would need high-powered strategists if he were only eyeing a re-election campaign three years from now.)
The media company's most famous client is Vice President Biden, whose sister, Valerie Biden Owens, has been at Joe Slade White for 15 years. She has managed "every campaign" in her brother's political career, according to the company website. Butkovitz said he had an initial meeting with Owens to examine the company's "reel" of political ads.
Butkovitz also called company founder Joe Slade White "a genius," who brilliantly employed short internet clips in the Detroit race.
"I'm really glad he's willing to work with us," Butkovitz said. "He distills the core idea about people, their records, their plans. He gets there very, very quickly. It's very impactful."
Butkovitz is among a handful of elected officials considering a run for mayor, among them Council President Darrell L. Clarke, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams and Councilman James F. Kenney. For these Democrats eyeing the party's nomination next spring, the campaign season could start as early as late summer or early fall.