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Clout | Boning up for Election Day as easy as ABC


Michael Nutter and his wife, Lisa, listen at a small Mother's Day peace rally yesterday in East Falls. Celeste Zappala (right) was there to honor her son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker of Philadelphia, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.
Michael Nutter and his wife, Lisa, listen at a small Mother's Day peace rally yesterday in East Falls. Celeste Zappala (right) was there to honor her son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker of Philadelphia, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.Read more

HERE'S Clout's A-to-Z guide to tomorrow's primary election.

A is for Abraham. Lots of people wish popular District Attorney Lynne Abraham would've run for mayor. But the woman called "one tough cookie" is really "one soft-batch cookie" with no hunger for the back-stabbing, vicious smackdown that is a Philadelphia mayoral primary.

B is for Bob Brady and boss. Everybody loves Brady. But the still-unwinding City Hall corruption scandal has voters sick of insiders. As boss of the Democratic machine, Brady is an insider's insider. That makes this a bad year to be the boss.

C is for crabs, because a mayoral primary is like crabs in a barrel. As one rises toward the top, the others claw him back down. First Chaka Fattah, then Tom Knox, now Michael Nutter.

D is for dirt, which turns into mud when mixed with water. Every candidate is dumping attack mailings or negative TV ads trashing one another.

E is for Evans. Gov. Rendell called Dwight Evans the best- qualified candidate to be mayor. Moderator Chris Matthews said Evans was most impressive in the last debate. Evans is running last because he's not good on TV. Ain't democracy grand?

F is for Fattah. Chaka Fattah looks mayoral, sounds mayoral and acts mayoral. He led in the polls by 16 points last year. Now he is in third place. It is very hard to make a campaign go backwards that far.

G is for good government. This is a good year for goo-goo groups. New campaign-contribution limits curbed spending by special interests. It forced the mayoral candidates to battle over issues and ideas in forums and debates.

H is for help. If you need help at the polls, the Committee of Seventy will offer assistance at 215-557-3600.

I is for interest groups. Interest groups in past mayoral elections - bond lawyers, developers, investment bankers and other unsavory types - dumped tons of money on candidates hoping to win fat city contracts. Under a new anti-pay-to-play law, big donors are barred from no-bid city contracts.

J is for Jesus. Jesus White is the first homeless man to run for mayor. His name is on the ballot, but he has little money or name recognition.

K is for Katz. Sam Katz ran for mayor twice as a Republican. This year he changed his registration to independent. Will he run as a third choice in November?

L is for love. Queena Bass, one of the two lesser-known candidates for mayor, is running a campaign to bring more love to city government. She got 1,800 votes for mayor in 1999.

M is for money, the mother's milk of politics. Common Pleas judge candidates spend more than $100,000 to get the backing of ward leaders, consultants and interest groups. Maybe someday M will be for merit selection.

N is for nerds, Nutter and newspaper endorsements. Michael Nutter, the nerdiest candidate, got nearly all of the newspaper endorsements. Are you surprised?

O is for Olivia, Nutter's 12-year-old daughter. She starred in the best TV ad of the campaign, and his poll numbers rose immediately. Give her a patronage job.

P is for progressive. It has been many years since reform-minded progressive challengers unseated incumbents on City Council, but it could happen with as many as four seats tomorrow.

Q is for questions. If every voter takes the time to read and understand each of the eight incomprehensible questions on tomorrow's ballot, the election won't end until Thursday.

R is for Richie Rich and his dog Dollar, aka Tom Knox. Knox is spending $10 million of his personal fortune to become mayor. If he loses, can he get a tax deduction?

S is for smashmouth democracy, a Philadelphia tradition. The carpenters are for Brady and the electricians are for Knox. They will flood the Northeast and South Philadelphia tomorrow in a muscular exercise of support.

T is for Taubenberger. Al Taubenberger will win the Republican mayoral primary tomorrow. He is unopposed. It will be the only thing he wins this year.

U is for upset. With 21 percent undecided in last week's Daily News/Keystone Poll, laggards Chaka Fattah and Bob Brady can still win.

V is for Vince Fumo. His troubles with the feds have made him less visible, but the Tasker Street bunker will be busy as ever tomorrow.

W is for Web site. The best mayoral-primary Web site is

The Next Mayor (, where you can read biographies, analyses and an archive of news articles about every candidate. Even if you haven't been paying attention, you can spend an hour on the site and make an informed decision for mayor tomorrow.

X is for X-factor. The get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort is the X-factor in this election. Fewer than 300,000 voters will show up tomorrow. In a five-way race, that means 100,000 votes should win it. That means the election may be decided by the best GOTV operation.

Y is for Your Polling Place. You can find out where to vote by looking at the lists in today's Daily News (see the election guide starting on Page 44) or by going to

Z is for zoo. The Philadelphia Zoo has no elephants. In the best promise of the campaign, Brady said he'd bring them back. *

Staff writer Gar Joseph contributed to this report.