Clearly, I overestimated the influence of Johnny Dougherty and underestimated Vince Fumo-backed Larry Farnese.
In yesterday’s primary, not only did Hillary squeak with a victory, but Farnese beat Dougherty in what, I can admit, was a surprise to me and it seems others, too.
Fumo showed the love he has for Dougherty, as suggested by the story by the Daily News:
Fumo and City Councilman Frank DiCicco, who have feuded with Dougherty for years, led a small crowd of supporters chanting, “Doc is dead, Doc is dead,” at Farnese’s victory celebration at the Paradiso restaurant on Passyunk Avenue.
Dougherty “finally put himself on the line against someone who nobody knew and he got his ass kicked,” Fumo told a reporter. “What else can you ask for?”
Now, Larry Farnese is the Democrat for the first Senate seat, to fill in for retiring Fumo. There is a Republican challenger, Jack Morley, who has even gotten mention on the progressive site Young Philly Politics, but he may not enter in the conversation.
He has gotten viral on Phillyblog but Morley might facing in Farnese something like what Mayor Michael Nutter was in last Spring’s Democratic mayoral election. Farnese won big in places like Society Hill, where reform-minded progressives rejected Dougherty, perceived as a machine Democrat. Fumo set aside, Farnese became the reform candidate, despite connections to the in-power party, just like Nutter.
That pushes Morley out of the equation. If he wants to even be competitive, he needs to rely heavily on Farnese’s connections to Fumo, who will be undergoing a 139-count indictment-based trial right as the election nears.