STATE SEN. Anthony Hardy Williams says he's a Democrat, but he's starting to make us wonder. Not like Manchurian Candidate-levels of concern, but still . . . we're concerned.
Williams, one of six Democrats seeking the mayoral nomination, is backed by a trio of Main Line millionaires who want more charter schools. His wife works for the fracking industry. And it seems that he's a proponent of the so-called "stand your ground" gun laws pushed by the National Rifle Association.
What's next? Happy hour at Applebee's with Daryl Metcalfe?
Some interesting oppo research landed on our desk this week showing that Williams voted for an expansion of Pennsylvania's "Castle Doctrine" in 2010 and 2011. The GOP-sponsored bill that Williams voted for in 2011 essentially gave gun owners the right to shoot an attacker - without first attempting to retreat - anywhere that they "have the legal right to be."
The bill breezed through the Senate, but most of Philly's delegation voted against it.
Williams sent us this statement yesterday in response to questions about the vote:
"The people in my district asked me to support the expansion because they wanted to protect themselves and their property, specifically from carjackings. But let's be clear: I have a long record of supporting gun control. I would strongly oppose any attempt to cite that law as an excuse to use overly aggressive deadly force in the streets."
Which made us wonder, do any of the Democratic mayoral candidates pack heat? Do they support stand-your-ground laws?
Jim Kenney, former city councilman: Used to carry a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver and practice at the shooting range. "I feel that in the event that the situation presented itself where it's me or them, hopefully it would be them," Kenney told the Inquirer in 1996. "It's not something I particularly relish having to carry." He doesn't carry a gun anymore and didn't renew his gun permit. Kenney would not have voted for the 2011 bill that Williams supported, his campaign said.
Lynne Abraham, former district attorney: Also carried a trusty .38 as a prosecutor in the 1960s when she was tracking down witnesses for homicide cases. (Good idea, if you ask us.) Stopped carrying in the late '60s, but still has a gun permit. Abraham said she is opposed to expanding the use of guns for self-defense.
Doug Oliver, former PGW exec: His spokesman, Mustafa Rashed, declined to say whether Oliver owns or carries a gun, or what his opinion is on the state legislation. Which means Oliver could be armed to the gills. Don't try to mug that dude.
Nelson Diaz, former judge: He has "never owned or fired a gun. He believes we need fewer guns on the streets - not tough guys packing heat and saying 'make my day,' " said spokesman Barry Caro, who included a hyperlink to a picture of Clint Eastwood.
Milton Street: Who knows? Didn't call us back. He strikes us as more of a puncher than a shooter.
As for Williams, it took quite awhile for his campaign to get back to us on whether he carries. This conjured up fantasies of him packing a .44 Magnum in a Dirty Harry-style shoulder holster under that suit jacket.
But, alas, when his campaign finally responded, they said he "does not own or carry a firearm."
We liked our scenario better.
Aunt Lil a shill?
Aunt Lil sounded very mad in the email on Tuesday evening. In fact, to quote her: "I have never been this mad."
The subject line was: "This is ridiculous."
Now, we don't have an Aunt Lil, but this still grabbed our attention. We thought we might be in some sort of trouble.
Turns out, the email was from Lillian Youman, aunt of City Commissioner Stephanie Singer, who is running for re-election and had been kicked off the primary ballot because she didn't have enough signatures. Her political opponents even tried to have Aunt Lil's signature removed. The gall!
But we kept reading and it turned out Singer wanted to "keep fighting the machine" and to do that Aunt Lil needed $25. Just like the guys outside the bus station.
When we were growing up, our aunts usually slipped a crisp $20 into our birthday cards. They never hit us up for cash down the line. Besides, Lil, you're not even our real aunt.
This is awkward
The Diaz campaign posted a photo on Facebook last week of the candidate posing with U.S. Rep. John Lewis at an event in Washington, D.C. Except the caption read: "Nelson along with Rep. Elijah Cummings. Two civil rights trailblazers!"
Our resident bald member of the Clout team can explain: Lewis and Cummings are both bald. Bald men get confused for one another all the time. We're haunted by doppelgangers.
"Our senior staff quickly identified the error and fixed it, and the social-media intern who made the error had their posting privileges revoked," Caro said.
We would have let this whole thing slide, if not for the poetic justice angle.
It was Caro who pounced on the Kenney campaign in February when @JimFKenney tweeted about a Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus event he was attending at Johnny Brenda's and hashtagged it #Ken4Philly. The campaign later corrected the hashtag to #Kenney4Philly.
Kenney had recently hired a bunch of staffers from ex-candidate Ken Trujillo. Caro, a/k/a @BarryCaro, screengrabbed the slip-up and tweeted it back to Kenney's team.
Because if you can't antagonize your rivals on Twitter, what's the point of working in politics?
- Staff writer William Benderand The Next Mayor's Ryan Briggs contributed to this report.
On Twitter: @wbender99 and rw_briggs