By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In Philadelphia today, three candidates are vying to fill the City Council seat made vacant when at-large Councilman Bill Green resigned to become chairman of the School Reform Commission.
The Democratic nominee in the special election for council is State Representative Ed Neilson, former aide to Governor Rendell and former political director at the Electrician’s Union Local 98.
He says his two years serving in Harrisburg will help, “Last year when I got in, 26 new elected officials, state reps, were sworn in to office. Many of the people down here (in the city) don’t know them. I do.”
In this heavily Democratic town, Neilson is the overwhelming favorite. “I take nothing for granted,” Neilson says. “I think that I run hard, run strong.”
The GOP candidate is attorney and ward leader Matt Wolfe, who says he’s a political outsider, “This city has been run by professional politicians for over 50 years at this time. And I’m not part of that. I’ve run a small business. I’ve had to meet a payroll. I’ve had to pay taxes. That’s an experience that’s sorely lacking with most of our city councilman.”
Both Neilson and Wolfe were selected to run in the special election by the ward leaders of their respective parties.
“They thought my experience was well-driven and that I would add a new spirit and a new voice on Council,” said Neilson.
Matt Wolfe scoffs at the idea that he could get a boost from the presence on the ballot of a near-namesake, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf.
“He spells his name wrong. He’s a different person. That does not seem to be relevant to my race.”
The third candidate is Nickki Allen Poe, a marijuana legalization activist and stand-up comedian.