2007 Philadelphia mayoral election

← 2003 November 6, 2007 2011 →
Turnout29%[1] Decrease 10 pp
  Michael Nutter (cropped).jpg Al Taubenberger (cropped).jpg
Nominee Michael Nutter Al Taubenberger
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 222,583 46,029
Percentage 83.4% 17.3%

Mayor before election

John F. Street

Elected Mayor

Michael Nutter

The 2007 Philadelphia mayoral election was held on November 6, 2007 when Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States elected Michael Nutter as the Mayor of Philadelphia starting in 2008. The incumbent mayor, John F. Street was barred from seeking a third term because of term limits. The Democratic Party primary campaign saw two well-known, well-funded Philadelphia congressmenBob Brady and Chaka Fattah – eclipsed by self-funding businessman Tom Knox and reformist former Philadelphia City Council member Nutter, who won by a surprisingly large margin in the primary election on May 15. He went on to face Republican Party nominee Al Taubenberger in the general election, which he won by a large margin and with the lowest voter turnout in a Philadelphia mayoral election without an incumbent since 1951.[2] Mayor Nutter was sworn in on January 7, 2008.


The 2007 Philadelphia mayoral election was held to select the replacement for incumbent Mayor John F. Street, who was prevented from being re-elected a third time by term limits. Nearly four out of five Philadelphia voters are registered Democrats and the city has not elected a Republican mayor in close to sixty years.[3]


The two major issues in the mayoral campaign were crime and corruption. Philadelphians felt crime was the most important issue because of the city's rising murder rate. There were more than 400 murders in 2006, the most in almost a decade. Corruption was also an important issue. A corruption probe resulted in the conviction a close to two dozen people, some with close ties to Mayor John F. Street.[3] An early poll on issues concerning young adults, crime was the number one issue with public transit, economic development, education and job growth rounding out the top five.[4]


January 2007 mayoral candidate forum

Philadelphia City Council member Michael Nutter won the Democratic mayoral primary on May 15. His opponent, businessman Tom Knox came in second, with congressmen Bob Brady and Chaka Fattah and State Representative Dwight Evans coming in third, fourth, and fifth respectively. Al Taubenberger became the Republican nominee after running unopposed.[3]

Businessman Tom Knox had started off strong as his self-financed campaign created a barrage of advertising. However, Michael Nutter's message of government reform and criticism of John Street gained him enough support to win the primary.

Primary elections held May 15, 2007
Democratic Primary Results Republican Primary Results
Candidate Vote Percent Candidate Votes Percent
Michael Nutter (cropped).jpg Michael Nutter 106,805 36.64% Al Taubenberger 17,449 99.50%
Tom Knox.jpg Tom Knox 71,731 24.61% Write-in candidates 88 0.50%
RepBobBrady.jpg Bob Brady 44,474 15.26%
Chaka Fattah official House photo.jpg Chaka Fattah 44,301 15.20%
Dwight Evans.jpg Dwight Evans 22,782 7.82%
Queena Bass 950 0.33%
Jesus White 437 0.15%
Write-in candidates 12 0.00%
Totals 291,492 100% Totals 17,537 100%
Source: Committee of Seventy: Philadelphia County Official Certified Election Returns


On November 6, Michael Nutter easily won the mayoral election, receiving 83.4% of the vote to Taubenberger's 17.3%. The margin of victory is the largest since 1931.[5] Nutter's margin of victory was so large the Associated Press declared a winner after just one percent of the vote was counted. Turnout in the election was light with only 28.7 percent of registered voters casting a ballot. The 2007 election had the lowest turnout in a Philadelphia mayoral election without an incumbent since the Home Rule Charter of 1951.[2]

In the general election, the candidates for Mayor were:

In the general election, Michael Nutter became the odds-on favorite to win the election. Nutter raised US$2.9 million for his campaign while Taubenberger raised no more than US$20,000. The candidates held numerous joint appearances and had few disagreements. Towards the end of the race Taubenberger was advertising himself as the "super underdog" .[8]

One of the most significant disagreements on issues the two candidates had was on Nutter's "stop and frisk" proposal. The proposal would allow police officers to stop and frisk people suspected of carrying illegal firearms. Taubenberger criticized the proposal, which was also criticized by Nutter's opponents in the primary and Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, saying the proposal could be abused and violate civil rights. Taubenberger proposed hiring more police officers to reduce the city's high murder rate.

Other disagreements dealt with the city's requirement that public employees live within the city, which Taubenberger proposed removing. Nutter said he would keep the rule, but would remove the restriction that allows only people who have lived in the city for at least one year to apply for city positions. Nutter and Taubenberger also disagreed on the city's decision to charge rent for the Cradle of Liberty Council as result of the Boy Scouts of America's policy on homosexuality which the city says violates its laws on discrimination. Nutter supported the decision saying his administration would not subsidize discrimination. Taubenberger said the decision was wrong because the Boy Scouts do too much good and keep kids off the streets.[9]


Philadelphia mayoral election, 2007 (96.85% precincts reporting)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Michael Nutter 222,583 83.4 +25.2
Republican Al Taubenberger 46,029 17.3 -26.3
Socialist Workers John Staggs 1,001 0.2 N/A
Independent Write-in candidates 74 0 N/A
Turnout 269,613 28.9
Democratic hold Swing


General election

Opinion Polls
Candidate Oct 17–21
Michael Nutter 74%
Al Taubenberger 8%
Undecided 18%
Source Keystone poll
Link [10]

Democratic primary

Opinion Polls
Candidate Jan 31 Feb 15 March 13 April 5 April 17 May 1 May 14
Bob Brady 8% 18% 17% 16% 17% 11% 13%
Dwight Evans 10% 10% 13% 10% 10% 9% 6%
Chaka Fattah 26% 32% 22% 17% 18% 18% 13%
Tom Knox 22% 22% 25% 24% 32% 29% 25%
Michael Nutter 12% 8% 11% 12% 14% 27% 36%
Undecided 22% 21%
Source Keystone Poll SurveyUSA SurveyUSA Keystone Poll SurveyUSA SurveyUSA SurveyUSA
Link [11] [12] [12] [13] [12] [12] [12]


  1. ^ Denvir, Daniel (22 May 2015). "Voter Turnout in U.S. Mayoral Elections Is Pathetic, But It Wasn't Always This Way". City Lab. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b Brennan, Chris (7 November 2007). "Voter turnout was, well, light". Philadelphia Daily News.
  3. ^ a b c d Walters, Patrick (15 May 2007). "Ex-Philly Pol Wins Dem. Mayoral Primary". Associated Press.
  4. ^ "Voice of Young Philadelphia: Decide, Discuss, Vote Survey: Top 5 Issues of 2007" (PDF). Young America PAC, Young Involved Philadelphia, Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's Young Professional Network. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
  5. ^ Associated Press (November 7, 2007). "Philly mayor-elect has largest margin of victory since 1931". whptv.com. Archived from the original on December 6, 2007. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  6. ^ Gelbart, Marcia (11 June 2007). "'I've got nothing to lose'". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. B01.
  7. ^ Warner, Bob (2 August 2007). "Germantown's John Staggs files for mayoral race on Socialist ticket". Philadelphia Daily News. p. 10.
  8. ^ Gelbart, Marcia; Patrick Kerkstra (7 November 2007). "Nutter: 'A New Day'". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  9. ^ Fitzgerald, Thomas (5 November 2007). "Taubenberger takes on Nutter in a final debate". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. B01.
  10. ^ "October 2007 Philadelphia Mayoral Keystone Poll" (PDF). Franklin & Marshall College Poll. Franklin & Marshall. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-28. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
  11. ^ "Keystone Philadelphia Mayoral Poll" (PDF). Franklin & Marshall College Poll. Franklin & Marshall. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-28. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Report Card: 2007 Philadelphia Mayor Election = A+". SurveyUSA. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
  13. ^ "April 2007 Philadelphia Mayoral Keystone Poll" (PDF). Franklin & Marshall College Poll. Franklin & Marshall. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-28. Retrieved 2007-07-11.

External links

  • The Next Mayor: an election website sponsored by Philadelphia Daily News, WHYY, and the Committee of 70.
  • Philadelphia Inquirer website on the race

Preceded by
Philadelphia mayoral election
Succeeded by