Tony Payton for State Rep

Dan announced our first official endorsement for Anne Dicker yesterday and today I am proud to endorse our second: Tony Payton Jr. for State Rep in the 179th. At our happy hour on Friday at the Khyber, you’ll get to meet Tony and Anne and a ton of other young Philadelphia progressives from 5:30 to 8:30 at the Khyber.

Why Tony? Tony is a dedicated and passionate person. He is only 25 years old, but he owns a home in his district, works at United Communities in South Philly, and is a student at Community College. He is running in Tuesday’s primary to take the seat left by William Rieger, in the 179th district- which covers parts of Hunting Park, Frankford, and more of Lower NE/North Philly.

I first met Tony when I was working on the Seth Williams campaign for DA. Tony was volunteering for Seth and very quickly became the campaign’s deputy manager because of his dedication and enthusiasm.

Seth’s campaign was a crash course for Tony on the hypocrisy of Philadelphia politics: pre-primary, your name was mud if you supported Seth amongst the political elite, and afterwards he was considered a minor celebrity. That reversal seems to be typical of the way political leadership works in Philadelphia.

Funnily enough, Tony is going through something similar now in his own campaign. Tony decided to run for state representative because his district has been woefully underserved for the past 30 years. With a state rep that did not even go to Harrisburg, Tony knew he could do more for the 179th than William Rieger ever did.

Despite that very real and serious desire to do good by the people in his neighborhood, Tony’s campaign received no support from the political elite from day one. Tony, not one to take these things lying down, fought back and challenged the petitions of his main opponent. Now, Tony is the only candidate left on the ballot and the party’s leadership is STILL not supporting him.

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Again, we’re lucky that Tony is smart. Like Anne, he is doing the one thing that the party doesn’t do: talking one-on-one with voters. Tony has spent every spare moment in the past weeks knocking on doors in his district. As a result I feel pretty good about his chances of winning (though he can still use all of help in these last days).

Unlike with Anne’s race, with Tony, the real fight will occur after he wins. That old axiom, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” comes into play here as the political elite that treated Tony like an insurgent will greet him as the conquering hero when he wins. Tony will be faced with a lot of choices. It’s easier to cast your lot with outsiders (like us) in politics when you are not on the inside, but if elected, Tony is going to be offered campaign cash, jobs for friends, speaking gigs, and generally a lot of ego boosting.

Anne is someone ready-made to resist this kind of support. She ran openly because she was compelled to by the members of Philly for Change and because of the time and energy they have so far been willing to expend to get her elected. Beyond the people in her district, Anne is indebted to literally hundreds of people who, in return for their support, only want Anne to be the progressive leader they don’t see anywhere else.

Tony on other hand does not have such a base. And the truth is that to keep him in office, or honest, we have to help him build a similar level of support that relies on ethical and progressive behavior, not money and favors to stay in office. Tony wants to do this, but it does get at lonely at the top, and if readers of this blog and members of the progressive community at large aren't willing to help Tony make it through his first few years, he's gonna have a hard time.

Because, I have no doubt that the drooling, sycophants and political princes who want to claim his soul post-primary, will turn against him in 2008 when they realize that they can organize a stronger candidate (like one who stays on the ballot) against him to take back "their" seat.

So, come meet Tony at our

What's the word?

Any way we can get word on how Payton did? I can't seem to find anything on-line, but I don't really know where to look.
What's Tony's web address? Does anyone have it? I know he has one.

results are at PA department of state website

According to the posted unofficial results Tony got 947 votes. They don't list write in votes yet. I think those have to be manually counted by the commissioner's office but the Inquirer reported this morning that he was losing by a "handful of votes".

Somethings just dont change!

Now here is a young african american trying to do the right thing and change the way this city is being ran cause the old way isnt working anymore and no one supports him. We have to get the good ol boys out of office and bring in new life and new blood. We need new opinions and new looks on goverment and the way this city should be ran. More african americans need to take a stand and show this city and the world that we are a voice that needs to be heard. We care about politics just like everyone else and we need to support Mr.Payton for his views and not bring him down cause hes black and only 25 years old. Young men and women have a lot to say when it comes to politics cause we are being affected the most. We walk the streets ,we see the cops, we deal with the minimum wages and the way the older people of this city treats us. No one wants to give the youth a chance, especially a black young man. What he knows about politics right? We need more like Mr. Payton not only black but anyone that is tired of the way their neigborhood is turning into . Who more closer to the streets than the young people. Officals dont have the time of day to find out whats going on unless its for a photo op and they are back in their government cars and back to the big house on the hills of market and broad. Lets give him a chance and i support Mr.Payton 100%

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