As predicted, a flurry of discussion today about Michael Nutter's decision to resign his Phildelphia City Council seat in order to go official in the mayoral race.
- The Daily News recaps Nutter's announcement and press conference. His last day will be next Friday, catching many by surprise. Some speculation about motivations for the timing, ranging from countering expectations that he'd never want to resign, to catching up with Fattah (another article also mentions preempting Dougherty's lawsuit, which alleged that Nutter was already running and thus in violation of city law).
- One Inquirer piece takes a look at the effects on other mayoral aspirants -- especially the racial calculus that could determine who else jumps in or decides to stay out of the melee.
- Another piece looks at the emergence of contenders for Nutter's seat. Those quoted or mentioned include a Ward leader from Nutter's district, Wilson Goode Jr. (currently At-Large on the council), and a Street aide (who thought he'd have a bit more time to decide), and a number of other business types and political insiders. Other interesting bits here:
- Mayor Street is quoted as suggesting that a special election could be held this fall to fill the two empty District Council seats (Nutter's and Mariano's), leaving the At-large seat (Cohen's) until its term expires in 2007. Is this to give Goode a shot without giving up his current spot?
- Stalberg weighs in on the relative merits of empty seats versus Ward-leader-chosen candidates, a perennial question.
- The absence of Nutter could also have interesting effects on some bills already underway but not to be voted upon until the fall; not least, DiCicco's bill to permanently exempt some local bars from the smoking ban may find itself one supporter short. (This seems like it might be taken as an unfair reneging on a deal, but then again Nutter had planty of other reasons for his choice.)
- Another DN piece focuses on Council President Anna Verna, who will now be under intense pressure and scrutiny as she considers whether to hold a special election to fill the record number of empty Council seats. Bills need 9 votes (not just a simple majority) to become law, and that's a lot easier in a field of 17 than with only 14 in the room. This piece also discusses possible candidates for Nutter's seat, and speculates that Ward leaders may actually prefer not to have to pick and choose among them.
- The DN Opinion Page looks at Nutter's accomplishments, with a twinge of regret that we have to lose his service in one role before he can try for another.
- Finally, Young Philly Politics uses this occasion to post a greatest hits summary with links to much of their previous discussion of issues and players that matter to Philadelphians in the mayoral race.