In case there were any doubts that U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz is running for governor, her office released a poll this week showing her leading the Democratic field in a gubernatorial primary and cited an earlier poll showing she leads Republican Governor Tom Corbett by eight points.

But it occurred to me in a conversation with a friend a couple of weeks ago that Schwartz would be a great candidate for mayor of Philadelphia in 2015. Why?

  • She's smart, well-known and credible, and she spent most of her career in the city. She founded the Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women, worked as a deputy human services commissioner in city government, served 14 years in a Philadelphia state senate seat, and represented a district in Congress that includes a large part of northeast Philadelphia.
  • Her work for the Democratic Congressional caucus and her ties to the feminist group Emily's List give her a large national fundraising base - perfectly suited to raise money under the city's campaign finance limits.
  • And perhaps, best of all, she'd be the only woman in a crowded field of dudes competing for the open mayor's seat as Michael Nutter finishes his second term.

But it can't happen for one simple reason: The city charter requires that a mayor be a resident of Philadelphia three years before his or her election, and for Schwartz, it's too late. Though she lived in Philadelphia for decades, Schwartz moved to Montgomery County when she decided to run for her current Congressional seat in 2004 and hasn't moved back.

When the thought occurred to me a couple weeks ago I checked to with her office to see if she'd maintained a Philadelphia voting address (it's been known to happen) and was told that no, she's a Montco resident, period.

Oh well.

You can read the Schwartz poll memo about the governor's race here.