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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Three-time Philadelphia mayoral candidate Sam Katz says he has decided against challenging Mayor Michael Nutter in next year’s Democratic primary. But Katz is still leveling some strong words against the incumbent.

Katz (in file photo above) makes crystal clear that he is dissatisfied with the work and style of mayor Michael Nutter:

“The mayor’s not a monarch. The mayor needs to be a partner with community groups, especially in these incredibly difficult times.”

But Katz says that after giving months of serious consideration to running as a Democrat and taking on Nutter in next May’s primary, he will stay out of the race.

One reason, Katz says, is the advantage Nutter would have as an incumbent.

“I’m not unaware of the ally that conventional wisdom is to a sitting mayor, even one that’s not performing well,” Katz said.

When asked Monday if he was also ruling out a general election challenge to Nutter next November, Katz recalled that after his first loss in 1991, he ruled out another try:

“I’ve decided never to make statements like that again.”

Hear the entire Sam Katz interview in this KYW Podcast …

Katz has run unsuccessfully for mayor three times. His earlier runs for mayor came as a Republican, including two failed battles with John Street in 1999 and 2003.

Meantime, another former mayoral candidate, millionaire businessman Tom Knox, says with Katz out, he is now considering a challenge against Nutter in the May primary.

“I think Michael Nutter is a great guy, I like him a lot. I just don’t think he can run things as well as I can. And he’s proven it over the past two years.”

Knox says he wants to look at public opinion polling first before deciding. That decision, he says, won’t come before January.

Also on tap next year are races for all 17 City Council seats. Six current council members are enrolled in the DROP pension program, but they are still allowed to run again — and several of the six are expected to do so.

Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio

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