Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz, long presumed a sure bet to run for mayor next year, says he has decided against a campaign. At least, as things stand now.
"Based on the conditions on the ground right now and the confusion and chaos of the current field right now, I don't see a path to winning," Butkovitz said, confirming a decision first reported online Monday by the Philadelphia Daily News.
Translation: The reluctance of City Council President Darrell L. Clarke to declare his own intentions has left Butkovitz unable to corral the support he needs to run a successful campaign. It is widely known that he has been courting labor leaders and key financial backers whose first preference is the Council president.
"Just about everybody is frozen in place right now," Butkovitz said Monday night. "The general assumption is Darrell Clarke will be a candidate and that he will be mayor."
According to a sources close to Butkovitz, the controller has had multiple conversations with Clarke in an attempt to determine Clarke's intentions. Those conversations left him none the wiser.
In the meantime, Butkovitz's undeclared candidacy was "incurring all kinds of expenses," the controller said.
"There is a timeline by which certain things have to be in place for other things then to be put in place in order to move forward," he said. "From what I can see, nothing is happening other than people saying, why don't you just take more time."
Asked if he might reverse his decision should the race's dynamics change, Butkovitz said yes.
"I think it is quite possible the race could change," he said. "Right now, however, it is in kind of a state of suspended animation."
His decision came as former District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham and State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams are set to enter the race. Both have news conferences set for Wednesday to formally announce their candidacies for the May 19 Democratic primary.
They would join Terry Gillen, former head of the city's Redevelopment Authority, and Ken Trujillo, former city solicitor, who have already announced.