Bob Barnett: former Sam Katz campaign director

During today’s interview with Ellen Kaplan, former issues director of Sam Katz’s 1999 Republican bid for mayor of Philadelphia and current staffer at the Committee of Seventy, she mentioned the success of Katz’s 1999 campaign director Robert S. Barnett.

I had heard the name, even having mentioned Barnett once before here, back in September when noting his take on the effect of President Bill Clinton on the 1999 mayoral battle between Katz and John Street.

Bob Barnett was one element of a bipartisan, but Democratic-leaning crew leading Katz’s 1999 campaign, which included veteran consultant Neil Oxman, policy director Linda Morrison, and issues director Ellen Kaplan, all Democrats, and Republican consultant Christopher Mottola, as reported by CityPaper.

He started his political career working on Ed Rendell‘s 1977 district attorney victory. He led Tom Foglietta surprise’s 1980 independent U.S. Congress victory and later served as his chief of staff. Barnett also served as state deputy secretary of the Department of Labor and Industry and oversaw the Overseas Private Investment Corp. and served as White House liason to the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, as appointed by Bill Clinton. In 1991, he ran an unsuccessful attempt at an at-large City Council seat.

The native of the Mayfair neighborhood lived for years in Northern Liberties and died late 2004. He was a 1974 Penn State graduate, a University of Virgina law graduate and a product of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, all after he got his start from Abraham Lincoln High School on Ryan Avenue above Cottman in Holmesburg.

Photo by the Inquirer’s Jonathan Wilson, courtesy of

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