Moments after being told Monday that he could remain on the ballot, a buoyant T. Milton Street Sr. made a bold prediction about the outcome of any future debate with his nemesis, Mayor Nutter.
"I am going to crush him like a bug," Street said, drawing laughter from a circle of supporters. "He has no shot, trust me. The mayor cannot debate with Milton Street and win."
Street, a former hot dog vendor, state senator, and federal convict, is now officially on the ballot and remains the only candidate challenging Nutter in the May 17 primary.
Sheila Simmons, a spokeswoman for Nutter's campaign, said the mayor historically has debated all his opponents.
"I don't expect this campaign will be any different," she said.
Street's victory was the highlight of the second day of hearings into lawsuits seeking to knock candidates off the ballot - an election-season rite of passage.
The most closely watched challenges centered on the participation of three incumbent candidates in the controversial DROP pension program.
Opponents of City Council members Frank Rizzo and Marian B. Tasco and City Commissioner Margaret Tartaglione argued that each could not run for reelection because he or she had made an "irrevocable" pledge to retire by enrolling in DROP.
Common Pleas Court Judge James M. Lynn, who heard arguments on the DROP challenges Friday, has yet to rule on that issue.
Lynn also heard the case against Street.
Nutter had challenged the validity of the nominating petitions Street used to get on the ballot, saying some of the 2,408 signatures were forged and some of the people who had gathered them were not eligible to do so.
Nutter dropped those challenges Monday morning, but he went ahead with another, arguing that Street had not lived in the city for the required three years.
Street, who was convicted of several misdemeanor tax-evasion counts in 2008, spent more than two years in a federal prison in Kentucky.
Because he was not convicted of a felony, Street remained eligible to run for mayor, and his time in prison did not affect the residency requirement.
The issue, rather, was where Street was living before he went to prison. He listed a Moorestown address on several documents, including his paperwork for his bond in 2006, but he said he maintained his actual residence in Philadelphia.
Federal agents raided the Moorestown address during their investigation into Street, but he said he has "no affiliation" with the home, which belongs to a "love interest."
"I don't have any clothes there, I don't have a dog there," he said. Lynn agreed that Street met the residency requirement but offered no further comment.
Street, the brother of former Mayor John F. Street, long has been a colorful and controversial figure in city politics. Nutter called him a "bad joke" during the 2007 campaign.
Simmons was more restrained Monday in commenting on Street's candidacy.
"Being mayor of the fifth-largest city in the country is a serious job," she said, "especially now with the serious challenges we face."