Sure, Philly's a Democratic town, but some of the noise you heard Tuesday night was that Grand Old Party going on to celebrate the day's primary election results.
The festivities were in honor of winning candidates and a new attitude among some city Republicans, but they also marked a potential farewell to the status quo: a city GOP content with whatever table scraps the powerful Democratic machine decides to share.
John Featherman: This out-of-nowhere protest candidacy has put the embattled GOP city committee on notice: Republican voters get a say in who runs for mayor, not just party leaders. And now Featherman, he of the quirky Gadhafi-comes-to-Philadelphia ad on YouTube, is within a few dozen votes of defeating endorsed candidate Karen Brown, who was all set to run for City Council as a Democrat before being persuaded by party leaders that she could be mayor. Should Featherman prevail, he'll still have a ways to go in convincing voters that he's ready to lead the country's fifth-largest city, but he knows the issues and is off to a spirited start.
Al Schmidt: The former federal auditor lost the city controller's race last year but came back strong against a pair of party-endorsed candidates to earn one of two spots on the November ballot for city commissioner. Continued bipartisan support in the city and GOP backing statewide could help him secure what is usually the lone Republican seat on this three-member board.
At-large City Council: It's often hard to even tell that two of these seats are traditionally occupied by Republicans, as there is seldom an alternative vision offered on issues. That could change — especially when it comes to budgeting, taxes, and creating a business-friendly city — with David Oh, Denny O'Brien, Joe McColgan, Al Taubenberger, and Michael Untermeyer among the choices for city voters in the general election.
GOP state committee: State party leaders have urged their city counterparts to get off their duffs and be more competitive for years. When that didn't work, they put their own people on the ground to register voters and recruit committee and ward leaders. Those efforts seem to be paying off.
Frank Rizzo Jr.: The decent, well-liked, and constituent-friendly at-large councilman fell short in his bid for reelection. It's a sign of just how potent the DROP issue is that it helped take out the namesake of a legendary Philly mayor.
GOP city committee leaders: It's not always sunny for Republicans in Philadelphia, but for too long it's looked like the bosses weren't even trying. And lately, Republicans have spent more time fighting each other than Democrats. Enough already.