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Republican Enters Race, and the Terrain Shifts
It looks as if the mayoral campaign won't be all wrapped up after May 15, the date of the hotly contested Democratic primary.
That's because a Republican, 53-year-old Al Taubenberger, has entered the race. But it remains to be seen whether come November, the GOP hopeful can pose any kind of serious challenge to the Democratic nominee.
Taubenberger's facing real obstacles. In Philadelphia, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 5 to 1. Taubenberger -- the executive director of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce -- is not so well-known outside that area, and must play catch up with fundraising.
But he says he relishes the challenge, and argues that he offers a compelling alternative to the political status quo.
"I know that I am very much the underdog, the dark horse," admitted Taubenberger. "This is about the needs of the city of Philadelphia. People are tired of the out-of-control crime, and they are tired of this pay-to-play corruption."
He pledged to hire more police officers, eliminate the business privilege tax and reduce the much maligned city-wage tax.
He last ran for office in 2004, when he finished third in a three-way Republican congressional primary in a race ultimately won by U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-District 13). In 2003, he served on the Tax Reform Commission; if mayor, he hopes to implement that body's recommendations.