LAST NIGHT was supposed to be the big one.
The final televised debate of the 2015 mayoral primary with the largest potential audience. The last chance for the six Democratic candidates to stand before legions of 6ABC viewers and separate themselves from the pack two weeks before Election Day.
Chalk it up to the impossibility of explaining complex policy proposals in less than a minute. Or maybe it was just debate fatigue. About 70 candidate forums have been held this year.
Don't leave, though! There was some news to report.
State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams stated unequivocally that, if elected, he'd send Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey packing. Williams, who had been on the fence about Ramsey, told reporters after the debate that he now views him as an "impediment to building trust" with city residents.
Milton Street is the only other candidate who has said he would fire Ramsey.
"Nobody wanted to replace him until I said he had to go. That's a fact. Mr. Williams said that he was going to keep him," said Street, who repeatedly attacked Williams during the hourlong debate.
Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham praised Ramsey as a "fair-minded" progressive and said she would keep him as commissioner if he would stay. If not, Abraham said, she'd consult him on appointing the next commissioner.
Former City Councilman Jim Kenney praised Ramsey, while former Philadelphia Gas Works senior vice president Doug Oliver and former Common Pleas Judge Nelson Diaz declined to say whether they would keep him.
In response to a question about negotiating with the teachers union, Williams said he would ask teachers to pay for some portion of their benefits, but also would support increasing their salaries. Kenney and Abraham said the terms of the teachers' contract need to be modified.
All six candidates supported raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.
Oliver portrayed himself as an outsider with more executive experience than any of the other candidates, as a result of his time at PGW. Diaz noted that he had been "hired" by three U.S. presidents, and vowed to fix the school system and create jobs. Abraham said she would simplify the city's tax structure and would lower the wage tax to attract new businesses.
Street stuck to his anti-violence platform - when he wasn't blasting Williams for, among other things, having "sold his soul" to a trio of Main Line investors who support school choice and are backing Williams' campaign.
Kenney, who is being targeted by a negative Williams TV ad, didn't seem to mind that Street essentially had become his attack dog for the night.
"I love Milton," Kenney said as he was leaving 6ABC's studios, "but it's hard to figure out where he's going to come from in any particular debate. That was his strategy, and I hope it worked for him."