PoliticsPa: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and state Rep. Dwight Evans endorsed state Sen. Anthony Williams for governor this morning.
Williams, 53, who worked with Nutter last year to obtain legislative approval for a controversial hike in the city's sales tax, has long shared a political base with the mayor. Both men are West Philadelphia ward leaders, beneficiaries of the black political empowerment movement of the 1970s and '80s in which Williams' father, the late Hardy Williams, was an important figure. Evans was also a beneficiary of that movement.
Evans, the first serious African American contender for governor, finished second in the 1994 Democratic primary. He said that, in a four-man race, Williams might need only 30 percent to 35 percent of the vote to win. A large turnout in his home city could give him a good start on that goal.
Here's the response from fellow Pa southeasterner Joe Hoeffel:
March 25, 2010 – While acknowledging the political realities that led to the expected endorsement today of Anthony Hardy Williams for governor by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Hoeffel noted the irony of the endorsement by the Mayor, whose major priorities include improving public schools in Philadelphia. Hoeffel said:
"I understand the realities of Philadelphia politics. But I am surprised that the Mayor would support a candidate whose primary goal, shared by his principal funders, is to use public money for private school vouchers. I believe that using tax dollars for private school vouchers would greatly weaken public education and would be a direct threat to the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania public schools"