WHAT A mayoral campaign!

Tom Knox hounded by a guy in a shark costume. Michael Nutter ripping the top off City Hall. Bob Brady explaining pension vesting. Dwight Evans shaving his mustache. Early front-runner Chaka Fattah adopting a rope-a-dope strategy that left out the "rope-a."

And that's before we even get to Jesus White and Queena Bass, the homeless and near-

-homeless candidates.

As state Rep. Curtis Thomas said Wednesday, "Vote like

you've lost your mind!" Because, if you've been paying attention, you have.

The bad news is that in 11 days, all this will be over. The winner of the May 15 primary will be elected mayor in November over Republican Al Taubenberger (unless the city's tiny GOP band concocts a mind-altering drug to reverse the party registration numbers.)

The memories of the craziest election in modern Philadelphia history will live on, however, thanks to Clout. We've produced a limited edition, high-quality set of mayoral candidate trading cards. You can see slugger Dwight Evans' card on this page.

Each of the eight candidates has a card featuring photos and autograph on the front with statistics and a fun-facts cartoon on the back.

Collect 'em all, trade 'em for Phillies cards. Put the losers in your bicycle spokes after the election.

Here's how to get your own set: Send an e-mail to mayor cards@phillynews.com with your name and address. Or send the same information to Clout Mayor Cards, Daily News, Box 7788, Philadelphia, PA 19101.

Street: Take the money!

Please do not share this item with Shane Creamer at the city

Ethics Board or U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan. This is just be-

tween us.

At Monday night's Democratic City Committee pep rally, Mayor Street made reference to the

tons of money that Knox and oth-er unendorsed candidates will be putting out for Election Day.

Lest the ward leaders and committee members be tempted by the cash to stray from the endorsed slate, Street offered a


"There's a lot of money out there. Take the money! Take the money and hold our candidates!" he shouted to the cheering crowd.

In other words, take the money from Knox and others, but instead of promoting them, support the party-endorsed slate!

This sort of fraud occurs in every election, but is not usually stated policy.

Delicious irony: If the party faithful take the mayor's advice, his son, the unendorsed City Council at-large candidate Sharif Street, will get ripped off.

A shark or a minnow?

Tommy the Loan Shark, the shark-costumed guy who stalks Knox as a reminder of his payday-lending history, has disappeared.

The Knox campaign says that the Shark's been missing since last Friday. That's the day political PR/hitman Frank Keel got in his face with the accusation that he worked for mayoral rival Bob Brady.

The Shark does not speak, but his bullhorn-equipped sidekick, Jim Nixon, does. Nixon denied Keel's accusations and called him a thug for John Dougherty, head of Local 98 of the electricians union, who's leaning toward Knox.

Nixon claims to be a humble grad student who dogs Knox on his own, for free.

Keel is pretty scary, but we don't think he'd scare a shark. So we called Nixon. Tommy the Loan Shark hasn't been around "because he's been busy with final exams," Nixon said.

On what? How to eat a surfer?

Nixon said that once Tommy gets done with his tests, he'll be back on the campaign trail. "Maybe next week."

Still, there's an enemy far worse than Keel: the weather.

"I don't know how much longer he can wear the suit," Nixon said. "It gets really hot in there."

Nutter buddy

Mayoral candidate Michael Nutter has been bashing lame- duck Mayor Street in his TV ads. Last week both were at Alma de Cuba on Walnut Street for

the "Dining Out for Life" AIDS fundraiser.

Street was on his way upstairs when he passed Nutter. Spotting a photographer, Street stopped, announced, "Here's something that'll make some noise - I mean make some news," and dramatically hugged Nutter.

You will not be seeing this photo, snapped by colleague David Lee Preston, in campaign ads.

Rendell: No knock Knox

Gov. Rendell called our man Dave Davies out of the blue yesterday to say he wanted to clear up how much credit Knox deserves for fixing the city's finances in his 18-month stint as deputy mayor under Rendell in the early 1990s.

(Clout suspects Knox didn't like the guv calling him "abrasive" in yesterday's Inquirer, so consider this a makeup call.)

"Obviously neither Tom Knox nor anyone in the administration, myself included, single-handedly turned around our budget deficit," Rendell said, "but Tom was a very important and vital part of that initiative, and his work was responsible for significant cost savings and productivity enhancements.

"If he was elected mayor," the governor added, "he would know how to cut costs and wouldn't be afraid to kick some butt in the bureaucracy."

There's your ad copy, Knox team! *

Staff writers Gar Joseph and Dave Davies, as well as David Lee Preston, contributed to this report.