IS LOCAL 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers running a squeeze play to help the union's former political director win a state House seat in Tuesday's election?

A campaign palm card for Democrat Ed Neilson circulating in Northeast Philly's 169th District over the weekend noted that Republican Dave Kralle had "accepted two generous campaign contributions from Democratic ex-Mayor John Street, whose administration was one of the most corrupt in recent history."

Kralle's Republican primary opponent, John McCann, sent district residents a letter Thursday that said that Kralle had "received two generous campaign contributions from ex-Mayor and defiant Democrat John Street, who presided over one of the most corrupt administrations in the recent history of our city."

Neilson's palm card listed John Dougherty, leader of Local 98 and a longtime Street political ally, as chairman of the political-action committee that produced it.

Kralle, who took a class that Street teaches at Temple University, speculated that Neilson wants McCann to win Tuesday's Republican primary because he might be easier to defeat in November's general election than Kralle.

Neilson and McCann yesterday denied working together against Kralle. Neilson said that he had not seen his own palm card.

Street, who gave Kralle two campaign contributions for a combined $350, praised him as energetic and committed while dismissing Neilson's palm card.

"People are not as stupid and gullible as some people think," Street said in an email.

Neilson was political director for Local 98 when it endorsed Street in his 1999 and 2003 campaigns for mayor.

Street appointed him to the Philadelphia Parking Authority board after winning the office. Neilson in 2003 wrote a letter to the Daily News, praising "the great job Mayor Street is doing in the neighborhoods."

The 169th seat is open because Denny O'Brien resigned in January to take a seat on City Council. Neilson and Kralle are the special-election candidates Tuesday. The winner will finish the last six months of O'Brien's last term.

Neilson is unopposed in the Democratic primary. He will face the winner of the Republican primary in November's general election.