George Matysik became the first candidate to drop out of the Democratic City Council At-Large primary late Wednesday night. In a statement released at 11:30 p.m., the former Director of Public Policy and Government Relations at Philabundance said in a statement that he intended "to start a conversation" while emphasizing his thoughts tackling poverty.
Money probably played a significant role in forcing out the modest candidate who worked his way through the University of Pennsylvania as a janitor. According to the recent campaign finance filings, the Jared Solomon ally only raised $10,000, placing him near the bottom of the At-Large pack. Only Frank Rizzo Jr. and Jenne Ayers had lower totals for 2014 and both have (relatively) famous last names to help their campaigns. For the sake of comparison, Paul Steinke, the former general manager of Reading Terminal Market, led the pack with about $91,400 on hand.
Given Solomon's narrow defeat - just 158 votes - in the primary for the 202nd House District, it's likely we will see Matysik at his side once again in 2016 if Solomon decides to repeat his challenge against that infamous collector of per diems, Mark B. Cohen - a man who, as of the date of publication, has more references on his Wikipedia page than President Barack Obama.
In a race that so far has suffered from dearth of ideas, Matysik was an exception, penning two fantastically wonky white papers during his short-lived bid. Hopefully, the other candidates will not mistake the East Falls resident's exit with a cautionary tale about the dangers of publicizing thoughtful - if somewhat controversial - positions.
Matysik's full statement:
After several weeks of reflection, prayer, and conversation with friends and family, I’ve decided not to pursue an at-large seat on Philadelphia City Council. Those who know me well, know that public service is in my blood, and that this was clearly a difficult decision. But to me, public service was always about more than seeing my name on a ballot, and at this point I believe the greatest contributions I can make to my city and region won’t be as an elected official. But that doesn’t mean I’m going anywhere.
I always intended to do this campaign to start a conversation, and I believe with the current crop of candidates, both for Mayor and City Council, we may well have that opportunity. To that end, I intend to help some of those candidates in grappling with the complex issues facing our city—and hopefully help a few of the good ones win. But my current goal is also to identify the next challenge—and the next opportunity—both for myself and my region. As someone who spent the last seven years working to reduce poverty in our city, state, and country I know the significant challenges are still there. With that, I leave a little parting gift, my White Paper on Poverty, with a few ideas that I think could contribute to public discourse on this critical issue.
I want to close by thanking everyone who contributed time or money to this campaign, especially my wife and family. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate all of your support along this personal journey. Now on to the next one!
Thank you, and all the best,