A Return To The 36 Chambers

Between Maria Quinones Sanchez and Derek Green’s decision to drop out of the Mayoral primary, and Jeff Brown’s being sued for coordinating with a SuperPAC, cash did rule everything around us this week.

Normally, I tend to focus on just one topic or person when I write my weekly column for the Hall Monitor newsletter.

But this week’s edition of my column centers on something that’s impacted more than one person in the race to replace Mayor Jim Kenney, I figured I’d dedicate this Cash Rules Everything Around Me edition to three people with money problems related to campaign financing.

In case you missed it, former Councilmembers Maria Quinones Sanchez and Derek Green suspended their mayoral campaigns this week. The councilmembers resigned on the same day last year and threw their hats in the ring on the same issues: making the city safer and providing better opportunities for Philadelphians.

They even managed to raise some pretty decent amounts of money. Quinones Sanchez raised $800,000 from 500 donors, while Green raised over $600,000.

In any other mayor’s race, those amounts would have been enough to be competitive. But as Quinones Sanchez said on this week’s Hall Monitor, the dynamic around running for mayor has changed…a lot.

“When those [campaign finance] reports were filed on Wednesday, we knew that people had changed the name of this game,” she said. “And the fact is that City Hall is up for sale, and there’s some people with a lot of money willing to buy it.”

And in a race with two millionaires in it, one of whom has put $7 million of his own money into it, the price can get very, very high…and can possibly lead to folks doing things that you’re not supposed to do.

Which brings me to grocer —- and president of the Chester Chamber of Commerce —- Jeff Brown.

A super PAC connected to Brown, and that may have gotten some financing from a certain sports team in search of a new stadium, has been sued by the city’s Board of Ethics for coordinating its campaign ads with the candidate.

In case you’re wondering, that’s a no-no.

For right now, an injunction has been filed against the PAC.

But that’s not going to necessarily turn off the tap in a race that’s already had $22 million pumped into it.

Now, I understand that money is the mother’s milk of politics, but when two decent candidates with good ideas can’t get any traction because good ideas don’t attract millionaires, there’s something very wrong how we do campaigns here.

And Philly can’t afford to be priced out when it comes to good ideas.

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