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Tony Williams is ‘seriously’ thinking about running against Mayor Kenney | Clout

"For a city that describes itself as 'progressive,' we're not making progress for the majority of Philadelphians," said Williams.

Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony Williams discusses his disappointing loss in the Democratic primary for mayor of Philadelphia during a sitdown with reporter Claudia Vargas May 27, 2015.
Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony Williams discusses his disappointing loss in the Democratic primary for mayor of Philadelphia during a sitdown with reporter Claudia Vargas May 27, 2015.Read moreCLEM MURRAY / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Will State Sen. Anthony H. Williams challenge Kenney to a rematch?

Williams, a Democrat who ran for mayor unsuccessfully in 2015, told Clout he's "seriously" thinking about re-applying for the job next year.

Williams said he's been talking with residents, and "the concerns are consistent" about the city under Kenney's watch: The poverty rate is sky-high. Crime is rampant in too many neighborhoods. Stop-and-frisk hasn't been abolished.

"It's kind of ironic," he said. "For a city that describes itself as progressive, we're not making progress for the majority of Philadelphians."

Unseating an incumbent mayor is tough. And in 2015, Williams finished with 26 percent of the vote in a six-person race — good enough for second, but nearly 70,000 votes behind Kenney. Did he learn anything from that campaign?

"I'm in a better position in life to explain why I'm running," he said.

Lauren Hitt, a spokeswoman for the Kenney campaign, said, "The voters of Philadelphia want a progressive leader … not a corporate Democrat who is aligning himself with greedy soda CEOs who want to take pre-K and public school funding away from our kids."

Last year, Williams helped former Republican State Sen. Scott Wagner set up a hearing on Kenney's soda tax in City Council chambers, which got shouted down by protesters acting in proxy for Kenney's administration. Williams, like ex-City Controller and potential mayoral candidate Alan Butkovitz, also opposes the soda tax.

That could make Williams and Butkovitz competitors for super PAC support from the beverage industry. (Speaking of the previous controller, we have political gossip: Butkovitz, who has said he's thinking about running against Kenney, is holding a fundraiser next week that promises a "special announcement.")

We asked Williams if he expects assistance from the soda business.

"I'll welcome their support," he said. "But right now there is no commitment."

The view from Famous 4th Street Deli

Every Election Day, politicians in Philadelphia eat matzo ball soup and corned beef sandwiches at the Famous 4th Street Deli in Queen Village. And every Election Day, Clout pesters them with questions about power and politics.

Question One: Will Mayor Kenney have a primary challenger in the 2019 mayor's race besides Butkovitz?

Question Two: In 2020, which Democrat is best suited to defeat President Trump in Pennsylvania?

Question Three: What comes first for Philadelphia's politically powerful Electricians union: its drive to take over City Council seats in 2019 — or federal probe trouble?

Former State Sen./Electricians union foe/ex-federal inmate Vince Fumo:

  1. "Possibly. I honestly think that the only one who could challenge him and win would be Allan Domb. And Allan's problem, that I see, is that he is so married to his business. It's like almost like a divorce. He can't cut loose. But I also see him as so very active in doing things that a mayoral candidate would do. Just going all over the place, bringing up the stuff in the budget. … The fact that he did that and stayed on top of it, and continues to, is clearly indicative of some motivation. And he hasn't said no."

  2. "Joe Biden. Without a doubt. And it would be a terrific race. I think Elizabeth Warren is too liberal. Bernie [Sanders] — I like him, but I think he's too far out there. I think we've got to come back — at least our side has to become a little bit more moderate. And we need somebody with the guts to stand up to [Trump] and really go after him. And Joe will do that."

  3. "I have to say the federal probe. … The FBI, although I don't love them, they do not like to be embarrassed. And they would not have executed … [several] search warrants at the same time with TV coverage unless they had something going in. … They don't do that unless they know in advance they're in good shape."

State Rep.-elect Mary Isaacson:

  1. "I don't think so. … I believe I've heard [Butkovitz] is making calls."

  2. "I think, if Joe Biden commits to one term, that he would be able to take Pennsylvania handily."

  3. "I think City Council."

Pennsylvania Republican Party leader Val DiGiorgio:

  1. "I expect that he would get a challenge from the left and the right in his party. And that might work to his benefit."

  2. "President Trump's winning Pennsylvania in 2020."

  3. "I don't know anything about their federal probe trouble."

State Rep.-elect Elizabeth Fiedler:

  1. "Not to my knowledge. I do not know if [Butkovitz is going to run]."

  2. "I think it needs to be someone who runs a strong pro-union, pro-Medicare for All platform."

  3. "It is a pleasure to be here at this table with you. I look forward to fighting for the residents of South Philly."

Where’s the proof of Krasner’s former ponytail?

In the Clout canon, two rules today intersect: Always check your facts. And never let go of a political ponytail.

You may recall — we certainly, sadly, do — this column two weeks ago took note that Philly reporters joked that this line about District Attorney Larry Krasner was the only news broken by a recent New Yorker profile: He "had a long ponytail until he was forty."

We checked, but could find no proof of this claim. So we asked you, loyal readers, to send us photographic evidence of the alleged ponytail. Regrettably, we received not one single picture.

What mystery! Perhaps the vaunted New Yorker fact-checking department has definitive proof?

So we asked the media outlet, "Did the New Yorker fact-check the ponytail?"

And the New Yorker answered: "We did confirm the ponytail, though Mr. Krasner did not provide us a photograph."

Unsatisfied, we asked, "Can you tell us how you confirmed the ponytail?"

The New Yorker replied, " We checked with Krasner himself."

This, obviously, will not do. And so we repeat our ponytail photo bounty. The first person to send Clout photographic evidence — no cut-and-paste ponytails! — wins an official Daily News T-shirt.