Northeast Philly Special Election and Primary Get Ugly
The race for the 169th State House seat is getting ugly. And not in the way we’d originally reported it would (that whole redistricting mess), but in that typical Outrageous Outrage way late political seasons can be: Smeary.
First, some background: Like the weirdness in the 197th District, the 169th will have both a Special Election, and primary tomorrow. Unlike that race, this may be the last time the 169th gets voted on, at least in Philadelphia. See, a redistricted map created in Harrisburg moved the district from the tip of Northeast Philadelphia to York County, but that map was later killed by the state Supreme Court. But the quick death is temporary. Many believe, in the end, the district will not end up in Philadelphia.
Former Rep. Denny O’Brien, now sitting in a cozy Republican at-Large seat on City Council, got out just in time. All candidates running for the seat are, in part, saying they will do their damndest to keep the 169th in the Northeast.
The Special Election is between a Republican and Democrat. The primary is a Republican one. In the Republican primary, it’s David Kralle vs. John McCann. In the Special Election, it’s Kralle vs. Democrat Ed Neilson. Kralle is a former Special Assistant to former Rep. O’Brien and Neilson is a union-endorsed Democrat.
Here’s a sample of some of the mailbox stuffers going around in that district. The first is paid for by Nielson for the Northeast. The second by the Pro-Life union of Southeast Pennsylvania.
One of the topics at the center of the accusations, other than Kralle’s young age, is that he allegedly took credit for getting a mural of Late Police Officer John Pawlowski painted. Pawlowski was shot and killed in Olney in 2009. The Fraternal Order of Police rebuked the claim and has backed Neilson, who formerly worked for Governor Ed Rendell.
According to Elmer Money, a Northeast Philly Republican who ran for a City Council at-Large seat last year, he believes Kralle may have played a role, as O’Brien’s special assistant, in the mural. He also calls the attacks on the fellow Republican’s age “nothing more than attempts by a…candidate hoping to capitalize on a campaign of fear.”
Meanwhile, John McCann’s own mailers are hitting Kralle pretty hard, too. In a campaign letter dated April 19, 2012, and addressed to “Neighbors,” McCann calls himself “the ONLY TRUE REPUBLICAN IN THE RACE,” and makes allegations about the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5’s rebuke of Kralle.
Moreover, McCann alleges coziness between Kralle and “ex-Mayor and defiant Democrat” John Street, writing in the same campaign mailer, “He will apparently do or say anything to get elected.” Yikes. This’ll be something to watch tomorrow.