Clout may have finally found an example of behavior so unabashedly brazen that Philly politicos are having trouble believing and accepting it.
Remember Rasheen Crews? He is the political consultant who made a pile of cash coordinating the nomination petitions for judicial candidates seeking to get on the May 21 primary ballot.
Coordinating may be the wrong word here, since Democratic City Committee Chairman Bob Brady complained in March that the petitions Crews assembled “were atrocious” and so rife with apparently forged signatures that some candidates had to drop out of the race.
What? You thought Crews would vanish?
Clout hears he’s been telling people for weeks he will be the new chief of staff when Tracey Gordon takes over as the register of wills in January. Billy Penn heard the same.
Brady told us this week that Crews informed him at a recent fundraiser that he would be Gordon’s chief of staff. The chairman was, shall we say, less than impressed with the pick.
“Look at how many people he screwed over,” Brady said of Crews, who managed Gordon’s campaign. “That’s her call.”
Gordon, who defeated 10-term incumbent Ron Donatucci in the Democratic primary, has largely dodged the media since her victory. Maybe Crews has given her some pointers, since he ducked furious judicial candidates just a few months ago. He also avoided Clout this week.
Clout got Gordon on the phone briefly. First, Gordon said she was on vacation. Then she refused to discuss Crews. Then she said she was “concentrating on winning this election in November.”
Gordon is the only candidate for register of wills on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Finally, Gordon referred us to a spokesperson.
Mustafa Rashed said Gordon knows that Crews “has expressed interest in any number of high-level jobs in Tracey’s administration.”
Rashed also suggested the judicial primary problems were caused by last-minute requests from candidates that didn’t leave Crews time to vet the people he hired to collect signatures on petitions.
So the candidates are to blame? And the workers too? What about Crews?
“He made some mistakes,” Rashed said. “For that he takes responsibility.”
Big Mac attack?
State Sen. Art Haywood’s poll on Twitter attracted just eight votes two weeks ago. But it raised eyebrows in Harrisburg.
Five Twitter respondents said they would not “call Derek G.,” the owner of a McDonald’s on Chelten Avenue in Germantown, and tell him to raise wages to $15 per hour, as Haywood suggested. Three said they would.
The tweet included the phone number for the McDonald’s.
Haywood, a Democrat who represents parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, also pushed the poll, with the phone number, on his Senate website.
Derek Giacomantonio, the McDonald’s owner, told Clout he was “shocked and concerned” about what he sees as a “targeted attack” by Haywood on a single business in his district. That has included a rally Haywood organized outside of the McDonald’s in January.
Haywood asked for a meeting, Giacomantonio said, but then didn’t set it up.
Haywood — who won a second term last year in a district where three of four registered voters are Democrats — said his efforts are “free speech,” comparable to negative reviews of companies posted by unhappy consumers.
Haywood added that he focused on that McDonald’s because “it is in the highest-poverty area of my district.” He figures other fast-food franchises in the area might follow if McDonald’s increased wages.
The senator has reached out to six fast-food restaurants in that section of Germantown that serves as the southern edge of his district. Four of the restaurants, including McDonald’s, are in his district. Two are just over the border in a district represented by State Sen. Sharif Street.
Haywood, who has said he wanted to meet with the franchise owners in September, doubled down on Thursday. He tweeted a video urging people to call Giacomantonio over the Labor Day weekend, and giving the number for the restaurant.
Beth Grossman is still waiting for her black robe moment
If Clout handed out awards for persistence, Beth Grossman would take the gold medal. Grossman spent two decades as a Philadelphia prosecutor before running as a Republican for district attorney in 2017 against Larry Krasner, who won with 75% of the vote.
Last year, while waiting to hear if a judicial appointment to Common Pleas Court would go through, Grossman said she “took one for the team” in the 2017 race. Her reward was not forthcoming. Despite bipartisan support, her chances were derailed by a political squabble in Bucks County that logjammed judicial appointments across the state.
Grossman cross-filed to run for judge in this year’s primary for one of six seats. She was the lone Republican on the ballot but finished 15th out of 25 Democratic candidates. She withdrew three weeks ago from the Nov. 5 general election ballot and is again hoping bipartisan support wins her an appointment to one of five new vacancies on the court.
The state Senate, which approves appointments made by Gov. Tom Wolf, returns from summer vacation Sept. 23. As of now, no appointments are pending.
“It’s always a balancing thing,” said Michael Meehan, chairman of the Republican City Committee. “I hate to say it, but we’re really the last people counted, Philadelphia Republicans.”
Brady wants whatever Meehan wants in judicial appointments.
“I don’t pick his Republicans and he doesn’t pick my Democrats,” Brady said.