Could Sam Katz win?

The election coming up is starting to stress me out, so I'm starting to just think about next year.

No one's said anything in a while about the Mayor's race after all that commotion a few weeks back that Sam Katz might run against Nutter in the primary. Does anyone think he really has a shot at knocking Nutter off?

Sam Katz is a nice guy. But he can't win.

Sam Katz is a nice guy. He loves the city and is making what looks to be an interesting documentary series about its history.

The recent poll that showed him doing well was interesting, but I think he has a ceiling on how well he can perform in a Democratic primary because of certain handicaps he would enter the race with. Given that, there is no way he could win. The political circumstances for Katz to win would necessitate him to perform very well in the black neighborhoods and that is not likely to happen.

But beyond that, what the poll didn’t account for and what hasn’t been discussed much is that Katz’s negatives have not been aired in seven years. If he jumped into the race the negative ads that could be written from these liabilities are more than enough to kill his candidacy.

-He has run and lost, twice, and worse the second time. “Sam Katz is running for Mayor, again??” He’s run, he’s lost, and people are tired of it. Combined with the other liabilities below, this would add to a narrative that paints him as someone out of touch with the city.

-He was a Republican. He may have almost beat Street in 1999 in the general as an R, but in a Dem primary the R label is an albatross you can't shake. Just ask Arlen Specter.

-By not having engaged in any outwardly visible public service since his last run seven years ago, it will be tough for him to prove that he cares enough about the well being of the city that he should be the top executive. Don't get me wrong, I know he cares a lot about the city, but what has he done to make the city a better place since he last run for Mayor that the average voter knows about? He’s worked on his documentary and that’s about it. The documentary series looks like its going to be good, but it isn’t enough. He could have ran for council to work his way up. Or run a big non-profit that got a lot of press doing good things for the city. Or even run a big business that brought revenue and jobs to the city. But he didn’t do any of these. He really hasn’t done anything publicly for city since he ran in 2003 and that would be highlighted in a campaign.

-He can be tied to Rick Santorum. Is there video of Katz supporting Santorum out there? If there is you can consider Katz’s candidacy dead in the water right now. The success of Sestak’s attack ad on Toomey shows that the Philadelphia electorate can be energized against someone who can be tied to Santorum.

-He can be tied to George Bush. Street’s campaign pounced on this in 2003. The times and situation were much different, but this is a bludgeon that would still be used effectively.

-The Delaware decision: in 2005 Katz was forced to repay over $2 million to back to investors who he defrauded after a decision handed down by the Delaware supreme court (I think it was Katz v. Kronenberg ?). I was living and working in Wilmington at the time so I don't know how much the press covered it here. And I didn't really follow it that much and don't know if he actually did something wrong or someone else screwed him, but either way the court ruled against him. With the recession lingering and the electorate responding very well right now to ads tying anyone to financial shenanigans, this would be the death knoll for him.

Again, I really think Katz is a good guy, but it would be suicide for him to jump in this race. He just can't win.

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