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Clout: Mayor-elect rides SEPTA, talks Birds like 'normal dude'

Jim Kenney spotted on Broad Street line with snazzy Eagles jacket; McGinty gets ahead of herself; Joe Certaine clears the record.

Mayor-elect Jim Kenney.
Mayor-elect Jim Kenney.Read moreDAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer

THE DAY AFTER Jim Kenney won the mayoral election, the former at-large councilman made a trip to South Philadelphia's Andrew Jackson School, where he proclaimed, among other things, that he planned to continue riding SEPTA so he can remain connected to regular working-class schlubs like me and you.

He also managed to sit in a chair designed for a 5-year-old, which was impressive in its own right.

"One of the strengths I bring to this office, potentially, is that I am not any different than anyone else, and I don't think I am," Kenney said at the school, the Daily News' David Gambacorta reported.

He was not kidding.

Following the Eagles' pathetic loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday, we got some reports of the mayor-elect riding the Broad Street Line by himself, disgusted as everyone else with the Birds' performance this season.

Kenney was said to be sporting what may or may not have been stonewashed-type jeans and an Eagles jacket referencing 1933, the year of the team's inaugural season, when it went 3-5-1. (Still probably better than the current team.)

"Was almost like a velvet material," local lawyer and friend-of-Clout Brian McEntee said of the jacket, admiringly.

As someone who rocked a wool Eagles coat with green leather sleeves in elementary school - Value City, baby! - Clout can appreciate classic Eagles gear.

But there's more: McEntee's two friends from Delco legitimately did not believe that the guy who looks like a "normal South Philly dude" on the subway was the future mayor of Philadelphia. (No entourage? No blacked-out SUV with special plates? Just walking around with SEPTA tokens jangling in his pocket? For real?)

So McEntee introduced himself to Kenney, who didn't have merciless communications czar Lauren Hitt with him to ensure that he stayed on message. It was Kenney unfiltered.

"He was nice. Mumbled something about Chip Kelly, hates him," McEntee said. "I love that he rides SEPTA."

Sounds like "Jimmy from the Block" is back! He must've read the heartfelt open letter we published here last summer.

About that endorsement

Then again, it's not easy being mayor-elect.

You have major staff appointments to make, a crisis-prone city to run (soon) and, if that's not enough, other politicians who want to bask in the glow of your recent landslide victory.

Take, for example, Katie McGinty, Gov. Wolf's former chief of staff, who is a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

In a recent fundraising email, McGinty's camp boasts of having former governor Ed Rendell as her campaign chair, as well as the formal endorsement of Wolf. The email went on to say that formal endorsements from Mayor Nutter and Kenney are "anticipated."

Sounds like a solid reason to make a donation - except that Kenney's camp said he has no plans to endorse McGinty, formally or otherwise.

"Jim has no plans to endorse in the Democratic primary for Senate," Hitt said after we asked about the McGinty fundraising pitch.

Ouch. We've heard that Kenney and McGinty haven't met in nearly a year, so it's unclear why McGinty had assumed that he'd back her. Hitt declined to comment on that.

But on Monday, McGinty snagged the endorsement of the state association of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents more than 40,000 Pennsylvanians. So, that's nice.

Political insiders have said it would be a surprise if Kenney makes any endorsements in the upcoming Democratic primary races - except maybe state Rep. Dwight Evans, who recently announced that he will challenge indicted political mainstay U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah. Evans was instrumental in winning Kenney the support of influential Northwest Philadelphia political leaders in the mayoral primary.

In fact, we're told that Kenney is planning an early holiday gift for Evans. A Kenney insider says that he will start raising money for Evans before Christmas and plans to help feed both the Evans campaign committee and Forward Philadelphia, a political-action committee that was involved in independent spending in Kenney's mayoral race.

You Certaine about that?

Last week, while out chasing zebras in West Philadelphia, Clout received an email from Fattah's folks announcing that they had hired former city managing director Joe Certaine to head up his re-election campaign.

The news release also stated that Certaine "once served as deputy campaign director for former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's re-election effort" and that, "[i]n 2000, Governor Rendell named Certaine Director of his Southeast Regional Office."

Problem is, neither of those is true. A tipster told us that Certaine wasn't a deputy campaign director for Rendell's re-election in 2006, and also noted that Gov. Rendell couldn't have appointed him to anything in 2000 because he wasn't elected governor until 2002.

We reached out to Certaine, who said the release should have said that he was deputy campaign manager in Rendell's mayoral race, not gubernatorial race. And, he said, Rendell appointed him southeast regional director in February 2003, not 2000.

"I didn't draft it. I didn't see it. Someone told me it was in the paper," Certaine said of the news release announcing his new position.

The release also directs readers to a website that doesn't exist.

Come on, guys. You got Dwight and three other Democratic candidates breathing down your neck. Look alive out there!


Then again, everyone make mistakes. Last week's Clout column incorrectly reported that Officer Michael Spicer was promoted to lieutenant. We meant sergeant. Sorry about that.

As to how and why Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison arranged a special ceremony at City Hall for Spicer - who recently was acquitted of corruption charges - Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald still hasn't gotten back to us.

Maybe next Thanksgiving we'll be dealing with a more transparent administration.

- Daily News staff writers William Bender and David Gambacorta and

Daily News columnist John Baer

contributed to this report.

On Twitter: @wbender99, 215-854-5255,