Mayor Nutter's former spokesman Doug Oliver is running for mayor himself - maybe.

Or so it seemed Tuesday with the announcement that Oliver, who now directs communications for the Philadelphia Gas Works, has formed a committee as part of what he called a "grassroots exploratory process" for the 2015 mayor's race.

The committee, named DO2015, will first and foremost try to determine what voters want from their next mayor, Oliver said, and what it will take to increase voter turnout.

He said the committee would also try to determine if there is an appetite among voters for his candidacy.

If not, Oliver said, he will "respectfully withdraw" from a field that is getting crowded.

Oliver said that if he does run, it will be as a Democrat - the party's primary is six months away. He had been toying with running as a Republican, but concluded that was foolish in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 6-1.

"We decided not to ask people to leave their party for me," said Oliver, who was spokesman in the mayor's first term.

Oliver said part of his committee's goal will be to boost turnout by about 15 percent next year. He noted that only 18 percent of the city's registered voters cast ballots in the 2011 mayor's race.

"Without better voter engagement, it will be very difficult to win in a city like Philadelphia," he said, speaking of his own candidacy.

Oliver, 40, made it clear that he target younger voters who may not be participating in elections.

He noted that so-called Millennials in the city now top 50,000. Also, there are upward of 70,000 students of voting age at the city's seven largest colleges.

Oliver sees those young people as a pool of potential supporters.

"The goal of this committee is twofold," Oliver said. "The first is to reengage the Philadelphia voter in the selection of the leaders of the city from top to bottom. The second part is . . . to determine if there is the environment for a major candidacy by me. We won't have one without the other."

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