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Rizzo loses at-large seat; other familiar faces prevail

Mayor Nutter won the Democratic primary over Milton Street capturing 76 percent of the vote with 76 percent of the precincts reporting.

Philadelphia City Councilman Frank Rizzo Jr. shares a laugh with a voter going into Robert Pollack School to cast her ballot in the primary election Tuesday. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Philadelphia City Councilman Frank Rizzo Jr. shares a laugh with a voter going into Robert Pollack School to cast her ballot in the primary election Tuesday. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)Read more

Philadelphia City Councilman Frank Rizzo, who has served 16 years as an at-large councilman, has apparently lost his race for another term.

Also, in the first council district, Democrat Mark F. Squilla appears to have won; Squilla captured 42 percent of the vote based on 90 percent of the votes counted. The South Philadelphia seat is now held by Frank DiCicco.

In the 5th district, Darrell Clarke appears to have won the Democratic primary. With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Clarke has 73 percent of the vote.

In the 4th district, Curtis Jones, Jr., running unopposed, has captured the Democratic nod.

In the 3rd district, Jannie Blackwell appears headed to victory with 98 percent of the vote. So far, 88 percent of the precincts are in.

In the row offices, Jewell Williams appears to have won the sheriff's race with 60 percent of the vote. That's with 78 percent of the vote counted.

* * *

Last minute voting in North Philadelphia

At the start of the evening rush, poll inspector Willie Lundy sat on the step of Midtown Church's teen lounge near 7th and Norris Streets, and sipped his coffee.

So far, out of 241 registered voters in the neighborhood, at a little after 5:30 p.m., only 39 had voted.

Lundy predicted he'd see about a dozen more voters before polls close at 8 p.m.

"We're not expecting an avalanche," said Lundy, a stout man with a gray beard and brown felt hat. "We're going to get those dedicated people."

He blamed the low turnout on apathy.

"Nutter? People don't care about Nutter. People are worried about their jobs. People are worried about their bills, their family and their children. That has been the feeling throughout the city. Nobody is enthuastic about this election."

Luis Martiniez, 51, said civic pride led him to vote his evening.

"I'm a citizen," said Martinez, on his way to visit his sister before church, "and I like to do my civic duty."

Voter Zakia Robins wasn't sure who her council candidate was. But she was clear on her vote for Michael Nutter.

"You have to give people time to fix mistakes," Robins said of the mayor. "Everyone can say how someone else would be better, but . . .." Robins paused then sighed. "Give him four more years."

- Kia Gregory

Out, you sample ballot!

In Germantown at Holsey Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, at 5305 Germantown Avenue, Cornelia Swinson, an elections worker, said there had been a few instances of campaign workers crossing the threshold of the polling place while holding campaign materials, which is prohibited.

Swinson said those workers apparently were not aware of the rules. She the campaign workers were otherwise orderly. "We pride ourselves on running a good operation here," Swinson said. "There is decorum."

- Vernon Clark

What election?

The Committee of 70 collected turnout figures from a handful of selected wards, and in some places it ain't pretty. Other spots, not so bad. We've added the percent turnout:

Ward 2, Division 8 (First Council District): 77 voters/424 registered, or 18 percent.

Ward 39, Division 6 (First): 35 voters/506 registered, or 6.9 percent.

Ward 30, Division 8 (Second): 113 voters/705 registered, or 16 percent.

Ward 39, Division 20 (Second): 141 voters/666 registered, 21 percent

Ward 41, Division 3 (Sixth): 41 voters/ 479 registered, or 8.7 percent.

Ward 55, Division 1 (Sixth): 55 voters/548 registered, or 10 percent.

Ward 53, Division 1 (Seventh): 24 voters/601 registered, 3.9 percent.

Ward 53, Division 17 (Seventh): 44 voters/ 548 registered, or 8 percent.

Ward 9, Division 2 (Eighth): 138 voters/657 registered

Ward 21, Division 34 (Eighth): 134 voters/981 registered, or 14 percent.

"This day has been as quiet as I can ever remember at Seventy," said Ellen Kaplan, the vice president and policy director.

Nathan Gorenstein

It's those kids!

Several Center City poll workers attributed the sparse voter turnout to the high number of students who live in the area - but aren't voting in this election.

"They've graduated or are finishing up final projects," said Lois Durso, an election board worker in the 29th division of Center City's 5th Ward. Besides, she said, "This is not an election that is exciting students - they are not interested in who becomes judge of Common Pleas Court."

At her polling place - in the William Way Center, a mere eight voters out of 570 registered had showed up by 3:30 p.m.

A few blocks away, at Pine Street Pizza, polling booths were a bit busier, with 75 ballots cast by mid-afternoon. The pizza restaurant, which is the 7th division of the 5th Ward, has a total of 764 registered voters. In the 2007 mayoral primary, 230 voters came out to vote there.

Nonetheless, campaign workers manned their stations all day- especially those working with two of the four candidates - Mark Squilla and Joe Grace - competing for the First District Council seat. "Mark has me out here, campaigning for him and I'm glad to do it," said Anthony Squilla, the candidate's younger brother, who was at Pine Street Pizza.

Of course, some voters you can't keep away, no matter how trite or unexciting an election. "I haven't missed an election vote in 36 years, primary or general," said Jerome Balter, a 90-year-old former engineer who said he once ran for the U.S. Congress from Rochester, N.Y. "I believe it is the democratic thing to do."

- Marcia Gelbart

Not in my back yard

The first entrant in the nasty anonymous flier contest is in, and it's a classic Philly election day shenanigan.

Someone who loves Maria Quinones Sanchez and/or despises Danny Savage in the Seventh District Council race trying to flare NIMBY fears.



EVEN THOUGH WE DID NOT WANT ONE," says the flier. That refers to zoning fight between Sanchez and Savage over a drug-rehab facility in late-2007. The facility never opened.

"PLEASE DO NOT PUSH HIS BOTTON IF YOU DO HE JUST MIGHT TRY TO DO IT. AGAIN," concludes the flier. It violates campaign finance law by not indicating who paid for it.

Savage is arguing in court this afternoon that the literature is "defamatory" and should be barred.

Savage's former chief of staff and campaign worker, Elizabeth McCollum-Nazario, blamed 33rd ward leader Donna Aument, a Sanchez supporter, for the fliers.

McCollum-Nazario "personally witnessed the illegal and defamatory campaign fliers being distributed," reads Savage's petition to Election Court, asking to have the fliers banned.

"I did not put it up, I did not write it, I have nothing to do with it," said Aument, whose daughter, Marnie Aument-Loughrey, is a candidate for Traffic Court judge. Of the flier, which Aument has seen, she said: "Is it a lie?" I think it's pretty truthful."

Savage was in Election Court this afternoon. No word yet on the outcome. Update: Word from the Committee of 70 is that a "removal order" was granted.

- Jeff Shields

Where's the name?

Stephanie Singer, whose campaign for city commissioner has occasionally accused incumbent Marge Tartaglione of "corruption," ran into a legal issue herself Tuesday when her Center City ward organization distributed sample ballots that did not identify who paid for them.

Which is a state requirement.

So a lawyer for Jewell Williams, the city organization's choice for sheriff, filed a motion to block further distribution of the sample ballot, and Common Pleas Judge Matthew Carrafiello issued an injunction against it.

The ballot was headlined "ENDORSED DEMOCRATIC BALLOT" but it carried the people endorsed by the 8th ward Democratic organization, not the city Democratic party. Singer's name, bulleted for city commissioner, appeared in larger type than Mayor Nutter's, and the ballot promoted John Kromer for sheriff instead of Williams. Singer's campaign did not immediately return a call for comment.

- Bob Warner

Stop smoking! Diet! And vote!

Today has been bad for the city's health in many respects. The public (mostly) is declining to exercise its franchise. But literally, as well - bored poll watchers and committee people have been sitting around all day smoking cigarettes and eating doughnuts.

- Melissa Dribben

Dropping DROP

At the Torresdale Boy's Club, supporters of City Council candidates Martin Bednarek and Bobby Henon, competitors for the seat Joan Krajewski is leaving, lined up to hand out flyers as voters headed in to cast ballots.

Most said they were there to exercise their civic duty, but several were angry at elected officials who participated in the city's deferred retirement option program, or DROP.

"I think they all need to go," said Patricia Giordano, a retired college teacher. A Republican, she voted for John Featherman as her mayoral nominee. Giordano said she liked Featherman's pro-business views. She declined to discuss her Council votes.

Stacie Hasher, also cited anger about DROP, but said she mostly came out to vote for GOP at-large council candidate Joseph McColgan.

- Miriam Hill

Lunch at the Deli

At the Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen, an election day political gathering spot for what seems like time immemorial, members of the current, former, and aspiring political classes started showing for lunch, gossip and predictions shortly after noon.

They included Lynne Abraham, the former D.A.; T. Milton Street, mayoral candidate; City Councilmembers Jannie Blackwell, Frank Rizzo and W. Wilson Goode Jr.; Register of Wills Ron Donatucci; and former councilmember Jimmy Tayoun. There also was Jeff Hornstein, a candidate for council in the First District. More folks are expected to show up later in the day.

Abraham said she was not sorry be on ballot. "I did it for 44 years. Give me a break! But I love it. The mystery, the intrigue. I'm interested in our city, and who gets elected, that's why I'm here."

Street said his race was, "Going better than a lot of people think."

Several of the candidates said that turnout was very low. Goode said that made it difficult to handicap the competitive council races.

Hornstein said turnout was "exactly where we want it to be" in his base, the neighborhoods of Queen Village and Society Hill.

Later, Bill Green, an at-large council member, showed up with his father, the former mayor of the same name. "My Dad is here, so I'm just following him around," the younger Green joked. Will he run for mayor in four years? "A very long time," away Green said, but added, "I'm obviously interested in that."

- Troy Graham

Molasses-like in Germantown

Inside the fire station at Shelten Avenue and Baynton Street in Germantown, judge of election K. Helena Davis said it was slow, slow, slow.

"Its as slow as cold molasses here today. To a point where some of the poll workers already left. There is not any excitement here."

One person who was voting at the home of Engine 19 and Ladder 8 was Barbara McIntyre, a retired city worker, who said she was casting a ballot for Eighth District city council candidate Greg Paulmier. "I know Greg personally, he is a good man He is very helpful when you need him," she said. There is lots of competition, with seven candidates running for the seat held by Donna Reed Miller, who is not seeking re-election.

Along with Paulmier, running are Cindy Bass, Bill Durham, Andrew Lofton, Robin Tasco, Howard Treatman and Verna Tyne.

- Vernon Clark

Where are the voting machines?

Florence Powell, 80, and her husband, Nelson Powell, 81, arrived at their usual polling place at 65th Street and Ogontz Avenue in West Oak Lane this morning to find - no voting machines!

Needless to say, it was a surprise. They had been casting ballots at that location for more than 40 years.

"I don't want to lose my vote," said Nelson Powell, "Somebody should be on the street telling people where to go." There were no signs or any indication of where the polling place had moved.

The couple found poll workers at a nearby barber shop, who located the new site after a few telephone calls. "I don't have strong feelings about any of the candidates, but people died to get a vote," said Nelson Powell, a retired loss prevention agent for CoreStates Bank, which later merged with Wachovia, which is now part of Wells Fargo. "I don't pass on any election."

His wife, a retired waitress, said she was surprised and disappointed to have received numerous calls from candidates and their representatives asking for her vote, but no warning that they would be casting their ballot in a new spot.

- Melissa Dribben

Who you know

With so many names on the primary ballot, picking a candidate is no easy task for voters.

When Ori Feibush showed up the polling place at 20th and Catherine Streets this morning, it was not what he knew, but who he knew that helped in his choice.

He said he pulled the lever for 2nd District Democratic council candidate Barbara Capozzi.

"I'm hoping she will clean up some of this vacant land," Feibush, 27, said.

He and Capozzi are both real-estate agents and know each other through work.

David David Snelbaker, 44, for his part said he voted for Stephanie Singer for City Commissioner because she does not look like a politician.

"She looks like a math teacher," he said, and that is what she is.

In general, the metal worker said he wanted to vote for women because they are underrepresented in Pennsylvania politics.

- Miriam Hill

Street: My message 'resignated'

T. Milton Street Sr., seeking to snag the Democratic nomination for mayor from Michael Nutter, was the second voter at the polling place at Robbins and Brouse Street in Mayfair this morning.

He brought his 2-year-old great-grandson Zion with him and when it came time to vote he said to the toddler: "Hey, do you want to vote with me? Come on, I show you how to do this."

After the curtain closed, Street could be heard to say, "This is me."

Street remained in the voting booth for some time before saying, "The green button is not working."

This caused a flurry of activity among poll watchers, but the curtain soon opened and Street emerged.

He then stood before the TV cameras, where he was asked about whether voters considered him a serious candidate.

"My message resignated [sic] across the city," he said. "People that say my candidacy is not being taken seriously do not know which way is up."

- Melissa Dribben

90 minutes, 1 voter

The prospects of a low turnout were highlighted this morning at the 42nd Ward, 23rd Division polling place at the Juniata Fitness Club on G Street in Juniata Park.

During the first 90 minutes of operation, only one voter had cast a ballot. And that was at 8 a.m.

"Every year, the same people come; they usual come in groups," said Felicia North, the judge of the elections at the polling place.

She said about 150 of the division's 453 voters usually show up for a primary.

But, she added, "that's on a good day."

- Melissa Dribben