Mike Stack III was never the retiring type.
The former state senator from Northeast Philly found time while serving as Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor to train for a marathon. And he had side gigs as an actor. Clout’s favorite was his portrayal of “Detective Jadick” in the online television show Finders Keepers.
So few expected the 55-year-old to fade into a quiet life of contemplation just because voters in the 2018 Democratic primary made the rare move of ousting a lieutenant governor while reelecting his former boss, Gov. Tom Wolf.
Stack will hold a fund-raiser Tuesday in Center City. And while the invitation does not mention any particular new ambition for public office, we hear he’ll be running for City Council.
One source said Stack is still undecided on whether to run for the 10th District seat in the Northeast or for an at-large seat, in a field widely anticipated to be packed with contenders, especially since two at-large Council members, Blondell Reynolds Brown and Bill Greenlee, are retiring.
Another source said Stack is leaning hard toward the 10th District, which has been held for 10 terms — that’s 40 years! — by Brian O’Neill, the only Republican to hold one of the 10 district seats. O’Neill didn’t even have a Democratic challenger when he won his 10th term in 2015.
Stack’s invitation offers ticket prices at $100, $250, $500, $1,000, and $2,500, payable to the Committee to Elect Mike Stack.
He certainly could use the money. Stack’s annual campaign finance report, filed last month, showed his political action committee with $10,593 in the bank and $137,814 in debt, including $90,000 owed to his mother, former Municipal Court Judge Felice Stack. The report also lists Stack, who lives at his mother’s Somerton house these days, as owing himself $33,000.
Stack didn’t respond to our requests for comment. He’s been media-shy since his troubles with Wolf went public in 2017, sparked by allegations that he and his wife, Tonya, were verbally abusive toward state troopers assigned to protect them and state employees who cared for the lieutenant governor’s mansion. Wolf stripped Stack of his staff and ordered the state’s inspector general to investigate.
That scandal likely resulted in Stack’s finishing fourth out of five Democrats in a primary won by now-Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. But Stack finished first in Philadelphia with 38 percent of the vote and won decisively in the four wards that make up the 10th District.
Daphne vs. Billy turns chippy
It’s still early in this election cycle. Tuesday will mark the first day to circulate nomination petitions for candidates to get on the ballot. But the Republican primary for mayor is already shaping up to be a chippy affair.
The Republican City Committee’s ward leaders voted Wednesday to endorse Daphne Goggins for mayor. Nobody submitted Billy Ciancaglini, another contender, for consideration.
Goggins was predictably thrilled with the news. “I look forward to earning it now,” she said of the endorsement.
Ciancaglini was predictably peeved and fired the first salvo in what could be a political shooting war.
“So she collects disability, but she can magically handle the rigors of being mayor if she’s elected?” he asked of Goggins, who says she has been on disability since 2010 for fibromyalgia and is not employed. “I’m still the only candidate who has an education and gets up and goes to work every day.”
Goggins said she is no layabout, serving as a ward leader and previously as a volunteer for an agency that served the Philadelphia School District.
“Just because you’re disabled, that doesn’t mean you have to remain disabled,” she said. “If I become mayor, I’ll give up on the disability.”
Delco vs. Daylin
The Delaware County Democratic Committee last week called on State Sen. Daylin Leach to resign from office and, if he refuses, declared him ineligible for endorsement “for any elected office in the future.”
That’s going to make 2020 tricky if Leach seeks a fourth term, since one-third of his district is in Delaware County. The rest is in Montgomery County.
The resolution cites an accusation that Leach lured a 17-year-old woman into oral sex in 1991 when he was representing her mother in a criminal case. Leach denies that and has sued the woman, along with two activists who support her. The Senate Democratic Caucus has hired a law firm to investigate the claim.
Leach spokesperson Frank Keel, in a statement, called the resolution “anti-democratic” and predicted it would be overturned.
“It’s unfortunate that the leaders of the Delaware County Democratic Committee could be so cavalier about denying Sen. Leach his right to due process,” Keel said.
Colleen Guiney, the county Democratic chairwoman, said the resolution was “overwhelmingly” approved in a meeting of about 40 party municipal leaders, similar to a party ward leaders in Philadelphia.
George Badey, chairman of the Democratic Party in Radnor, one of two Delco municipalities in Leach’s district, said he voted against the resolution not to choose sides in the fight, but because he wants to see the facts that emerge from the lawsuit and Senate investigation.
Rachel Amdur, chairwoman of the other municipality, Haverford Township, said she has been criticized for also voting against the resolution but thinks Leach deserves “some sort of adjudication" in the accusation.
“Trial by jury on Facebook is dangerous to our democracy,” she said. “I don’t know if Daylin is guilty or innocent.”