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Nominee's wife, Lisa, says campaign has been a family effort from Day 1

WITH ONE LITTLE PHRASE, the somewhat press-shy Lisa Nutter became a media star Tuesday night when she took the mike at her husband's mayoral primary victory party.

"I'm Lisa Nutter and I have the pleasure of introducing my husband, my best friend, my boo, my road dawg - did I leave anything out? - whom we hope to be the next mayor of the city of Philadelphia: Michael Anthony Nutter," she told the crowd.

This is our kind of girl.

Philly is still getting to know Lisa Nutter, a captivating blend of sass and substance who will most likely become the city's first lady next January.

Nutter has two degrees, runs a nonprofit organization, advises her husband on public policy issues, and isn't afraid to "pop him on the head" if he gets out of line.

And let's not forget the 42-year-old's statuesque good looks. As Ginger did for Fred, she gives her partner sex appeal.

Nutter said yesterday that her husband's campaign has been a team effort from the start. Lisa Nutter and the couple's 12-year-old daughter, Olivia, have been there every step of the way.

"From a practical perspective, that was the only way we could be together," she said yesterday. "We decided this was going to be a long haul and that we needed to make it fun. This is a moment in our family's history."

Nutter said she has enjoyed seeing her husband on the campaign trail.

"Just seeing people's reactions to him," she said. "People have seen what I have always seen in him."

Michael Nutter met Lisa Johnson in 1989, just before the Philly native was about to start graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania. From the the start, he showed his characteristic drive in winning her heart.

"He was very clear he was looking for a life partner, not someone to date - he laid it out on the first date," Lisa said. "But I was in a similar place."

The couple married at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in 1991. It was the year Nutter was campaigning for his City Council seat - eventually ousting an incumbent - so they had to wed in July between the primary and general elections.

Nutter said she and her husband are passionate about many of the same issues. Education and community development are two areas she has focused on in her work.

"We exchange things that we learn," she said. "He is always interested in hearing feedback."

Lisa Nutter runs Philadelphia Academies Inc., a nonprofit organization that helps city school students think about jobs and careers. Both of her parents were educators, so the job is a natural fit, she said.

She plans to continue with her work if her husband - as expected - becomes mayor.

"My agenda and my passion is the work that I'm doing. That's not going to change," she said.

Nutter added that her role is "not like the first lady-first lady. It's the mayor's wife. I'm certainly not going to reform health care."

When she's not working, Nutter is an avid reader - now re-reading Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" - and is a member of the Sturdy Girl Cycling Club.

Last night, she and her husband were going to take a little time alone to celebrate his victory.

"Dinner at Warmdaddy's - have some comfort food," she said.

She's earned it. *