Interview: Joe Egan, Republican mayoral candidate

Apparently I had an interview with former Republican mayoral candidate Joseph M. Egan, Jr., but I didn’t remember.

Joe Egan

I got a voice mail from Egan, who seemed agitated, and understandably so. I called him back and sent him an e-mail, but no answer, yet. For that, I apologize. I was interested in speaking to him.

In 1991, Egan lost handily to now Governor Ed Rendell, nearly 282,000 to 130,000.

To be honest, missing the interview was just the start of my confusion. See, I simply couldn’t get straight Joe Egan from John Egan, who lost W. Wilson Goode in the 1983 election, losing 396,000 to 264,000.

Now, Joe Egan has lots to differentiate himself, he uses his middle initial and tacks on the “junior” moniker. What’s more, unlike the other Egan, Joe came to be the 1991 Republican candidate by the most unusual circumstances.

That year the city’s Republican Party had a widely followed mayoral primary. Popular District Attorney Ron Castille beat Sam Katz, who was the GOP mayoral candidate in 1999 and 2003, but lost to former Democratic Mayor Frank Rizzo, enthusiastically supported and widely divisive. Sadly, Rizzo died of a heart attack in July 1991. That’s where Egan’s opening came.

Joe Egan was nominated by the Republican city committee, most notably then-General Counsel Bill Meehan, and chosen by the city’s ward leaders in August, but most correctly guessed the loss of Rizzo was catastrophic, as reported by the New York Times.

Joe Egan has no name recognition, no previous citywide campaign experience, no money and no campaign organization,” said David Buffington, editor of the Pennsylvania Report, a political newsletter. “No way can he enter the race at this late date and be, even remotely, a credible candidate.”

It wasn’t helping that the commercial real estate broker had to fight name confusion with John Egan, who lost to Goode in 1983 and Rizzo in the 1987 Republican primary.

Joe Egan was a high school graduate who worked his way in the real estate law world and led, for a time, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, a quasi-public economic development agency in the city.

I guess I won’t get to meet at least one of the Egans, who, as far as I have learned, are unrelated.

Photo courtesy of the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center, of which Joe Egan is a board member.

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2 Responses to Interview: Joe Egan, Republican mayoral candidate

  1. Alfred O'Neill says:

    Dear Chris,

    My uncle Joe Egan, former mayoral candidate, died today.

    He was as honorable and honest a public servant that this city has ever seen.

    Whether it was running a hopeless mayoral campaign with enthusiasm and earnest caring for his city, or loving his children and grandchildren, and in so many other special private ways, he was such a class act.

    We all loved him very much. I hope you ended up meeting him despite this missed interview. You would have liked him.

    His nephew,

    Alfred O’Neill

  2. Alfred,
    I’m sorry to hear of your uncle’s passing. I never did get to miss him, and now I’m even sorrier to have missed that appointment. I hope all is well with your and yours. He’ll be remembered by policy wonks like myself!
    -cgw

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