There has been plenty of political chatter this year about independent candidates for mayor in the Nov. 3 general election.

Will former Republican candidate Sam Katz take another shot? He won't.

Will former Democratic City Councilman Bill Green get into the race? He's still considering it.

Independent candidates also are sizing up two of five City Council at-large seats that are set aside in city charter for the "minority" political party.

Those seats have been held for decades by Republicans. GOP first-termers David Oh and Dennis O'Brien hope to win them again in November.

Andrew Stober and Kristin Combs also want those set-aside seats.

Stober, 36, who left Mayor Nutter's administration last month, is running as an independent.

Combs, 28, teaches science at Penn Treaty School and is running as a Green Party candidate.

They could have a shot.

Oh and O'Brien have the power of incumbency but are not particularly well-regarded by their own party's ward leaders. The Republican City Committee endorsed none of the seven men who ran for Council at-large in the primary.

An independent needs only to best one of the Republicans in the general election to win.

There are now 987,690 registered voters in Philadelphia - 79 percent are Democrats, 11 percent are Republicans, and 10 percent are independents or belong to smaller political parties.

So there are nearly as many independent voters in the city as there are registered Republicans.

Still, those independent voters are not one big block of like-minded folk. So don't assume that they will band together. Some of the smaller parties have wildly divergent thoughts on how to govern a city.

Oh says independent candidates must realize that many independent voters support Democrats and Republicans.

"Just because they're an independent, that doesn't mean they're getting all the independent votes," Oh said.

Five Republicans advanced in the primary, bidding for the two set-aside at-large Council seats.

Oh ran for Council three times before winning in 2011. O'Brien served in the state House for 35 years.

They were the top two vote-getters in the 2011 Republican primary and in the general election.

But consider the gap between the number of votes received in the 2011 general election by the fifth and final Democratic winner for an at-large seat - Councilman William K. Greenlee took 110,544 votes.

O'Brien, the top Republican, got 48,675 votes.

The span between Greenlee and O'Brien - 61,869 votes - showed the Republican trailing in votes by a ratio that was greater than 2-1.

An independent must see a window of opportunity in that math, a gap between the bottom Democrat and top Republican.

Stober, who as chief of staff in the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities helped launch the Indego bike-share program, says he hopes not to just win but also to "change the dynamics of City Council at-large elections in Philadelphia and bring new people into the process who haven't been engaged before."

Translation: Who says Republicans should automatically get the set-aside seats when there are so many people in the city eager to enter politics but maybe not so eager to slog through the Democratic Party's process?

PA Working Families, a group that advocates for better wages and more jobs, wanted to do just that this year but found the process more complicated than expected.

To run as an independent, a candidate must be registered that way at least 30 days before the primary election.

Kati Sipp, the group's director, said the focus now is on the 2019 election.

"We're in the process right now to start a candidate recruitment program to have that conversation earlier," Sipp said.

215-854-5973@byChrisBrennan