FORMER CITY Solicitor Ken Trujillo, who unexpectedly dropped out of the mayor's race Wednesday, yesterday threw his support - which would include considerable cash - behind former city Human Services Commissioner Alba Martinez.
There was one problem: Martinez is not a candidate. Nor will she be.
Early yesterday, Trujillo spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said: "Ken and others have urged her to [run], and I think it's something she is seriously considering. But, obviously, there are a lot of factors at play and this is happening very quickly."
So quickly that by late afternoon, Martinez, who works at the Vanguard Group, said she wasn't running:
"I was sad to see Ken Trujillo exit the mayor's race. I love Philadelphia, and I love public service, however I do not have plans to run for mayor in 2015 because I am fully committed to Vanguard and to our clients at this time."
Now the question becomes, who might be the beneficiary of Trujillo's campaign cash - reportedly $400,000? Announced candidates Lynne Abraham, Anthony Williams or Nelson Diaz? No. Trujillo's campaign said he would not be backing them.
What about someone tempted to jump in, like City Councilman Jim Kenney?
Kenney likely, Butko no
Trujillo's surprise exit from the mayor's race made room for a progressive candidate to jump in and the most talked about contender is Kenney.
Kenney met with Council President Darrell Clarke yesterday. He said they discussed the upcoming Council session, but that he also mentioned the possibility of a mayoral run.
"I wanted to make sure he knew that I was at least thinking about it," said Kenney.
He has ties to powerful unions and the political machine but his fight for LGBT rights and marijuana decriminalization has won him support from criminal-justice reformers and millennials.
"There's been a long list of issues I've taken on that seemed to be outside of my political, ethnic and religious makeup," he said. "But when things are right, you should pursue them regardless of the political consequences."
Said one City Hall insider: "People are literally begging him to run."
Alan Butkovitz, who withdrew his candidacy in November, and former Controller Jonathan Saidel were also floated as possible beneficiaries of Trujillo's exit. But sources close to Butko say he's averse to getting back into the race after retreating from the threat of Clarke's ultimately scotched mayoral ambitions.
Saidel doesn't appear to have laid much groundwork for a run.
If we can have Clinton and Bush running for president in 2016, why not complete the nostalgia and have Sam Katz run for mayor in 2015?
While Katz (candidate in 1991, 1999 and 2003) has ruled out running again as a Republican, he hasn't ruled out running as a Democrat or independent.
He, too, had an audience recently with Council President Clarke, who, rather than be a candiate himself has apparently decided to be the campaign's pope.
Katz gave no specifics of the meeting but did say this: "I haven't made a decision. The landscape that appeared here has changed. I'm watching it."
Katz said the next mayor needs to focus on reducing poverty and finding a way to repair the city's "resource-starved" public-education system - without having to rely on Harrisburg.
Ori, Kenyatta & Capozzi
Trujillo's decision to quit the mayor's race seems certain to lure new candidates in, but the brawl between City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and developer Ori Feibush still may retain the title as "city's most intriguing race."
Rumors have simmered for months that Feibush was planning to drop out and then unveil the surprise candidacy of Realtor/community activist Barbara Capozzi, who lost to Johnson in 2011 by just 40 votes.
The strategy, according to a source who spoke with Feibush last year, was that Feibush would bait Johnson into a mudslinging match and then bow out, allowing Capozzi to emerge "above the fray."
Feibush and Johnson have certainly traded barbs (Feibush sued Johnson last year over his handling of a land dispute.) But Capozzi appears to have gotten cold feet.
Feibush adamantly rejected that assertion, saying that people were misconstruing conversations he had with Capozzi at the "end of 2013" about which of them would challenge Johnson. He added that "on May 19th I will, 100 percent, be on the [Democratic primary] ballot" and would be "shocked if there was anyone else that jumped into the race."
Capozzi has a slightly different recollection.
"We haven't had that conversation lately," she said. "But he did want me to jump in last year. And I refused."
In a recent electronic message obtained by Clout, Ori says that he had asked Capozzi to run, but she declined.
Capozzi tantalized Clout by refusing to rule out her candidacy, describing the race in the 2nd District (which includes much of South and Southwest Philadelphia) as "fascinating." She vaguely alluded to unspecified developments to take place "next week."
Rumor heats to Boyle
The City Hall rumor mill is also saying that state Rep. Kevin Boyle, brother of newly sworn in U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, is considering a run for Republican Councilman Brian O'Neill's seat in the Far Northeast.
The Boyle brothers have made headlines for running insurgent candidate Seth Kaplan - chief of staff for Kevin Boyle - in a special election for the 170th district House seat Brendan vacated last year. Other Democrats have rallied around Councilman Jim Kenney's part-time staffer John Del Ricci.
Kevin Boyle has talked about going after O'Neill in the past, but said that for now his "political focus" was still on getting Kaplan elected to Brendan's old seat in March.