When the dust settles on the primary election, most insiders will be trying to figure out who has the edge to become the next City Council president.

The fight to lead Council has been the real behind-the-scenes political race for some time, with Councilman Darrell Clarke and Councilwoman Marian Tasco both lobbying for the job. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell has also expressed interest in the gig.

It's still too close to call, but where do things stand right now?

Mayor Nutter, who endorsed Tasco for re-election, is expected to back her for the top seat. And most of Nutter's endorsed newcomers to Council were elected, which likely bodes well for Tasco.

But Tasco's participation in the controversial DROP program has become a political albatross, and the fact that she likely will be the only DROP participant in office - Councilman Frank Rizzo lost re-election last night and City Commissioner Marge Tartaglione was an apparent loser - could seriously weaken her position.

Clarke, meanwhile, appears to have support from John Dougherty, leader of the powerful electricians union Local 98. Dougherty's right-hand man, Bobby Henon, who won the 6th Councilmanic Democratic primary last night, could be a strong ally.

This fight will only heat up now. Running Council is a power gig. As the No. 2 official in city government, the president takes over if the mayor dies or resigns; oversees the scheduling of council hearings and committee appointments; and controls goodies for colleagues - from budgets to who gets new desk chairs.

The president also draws the highest salary on Council, set at $148,000, and controls 35 patronage jobs in the president's office, as well as dozens of board appointments.