Gay Philadelphia Candidate Withdraws From City Controller Race

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Out City Controller candidate Michael Williams announced March 27 that he was ending his campaign.

Williams was set to go up against incumbent Alan Butkovitz and challenger Brett Mandel in next month’s primary election.

Williams, 53, subsequently endorsed Butkovitz for reelection.

He said he backed the incumbent after a positive conversation he had with Butkovitz regarding the office.

“I previously didn’t think he was treating concerns I had about the office, so we sat down and talked about some of the issues,” Williams said.

Williams said he may consider a run for public office again in the future.

“I have gotten word that there are leaders in the Democratic Party who wanted me to run for office for a long time — maybe not for controller, but to run for something else,” he said.

Williams announced his candidacy Dec. 5 at the Reading Terminal Market and said he saw wide support in the past few months.

“Our campaign went well — not as well as our opponents’ — but we were putting our message out there and targeting different communities,” he said. “When me and the other candidates would be out and speaking, I objectively saw the most applause from the crowd.”

Williams earned his undergraduate degree from Temple University and his law degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He currently serves as chairman of the IT Forensic Auditing Group at Picciotti & Schoenberg.

He has been active in the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club and previously served as a board member for Washington Square West Civic Association.

Williams said he had about 40 volunteers on his campaign, some of whom were from the LGBT community.

“I had a lot of volunteers, which was helpful to bring in money, which is helpful. LGBT individuals threw house parties for me and would show up and volunteer for me,” he said. “I had volunteers from everywhere — North Philly, South Philly — I had gay, straight and transgender individuals always helping me out on day-to-day stuff.”

In a statement announcing the suspension of his campaign, Williams said he would continue to fight for Philadelphians.

“My leaving this race does not signal at all me ceasing to speak out for and championing issues that have become part and parcel of my campaign and my life — issues regarding homelessness, blight, equal opportunities, fair-labor practices, discrimination in all forms, inequities, opportunities for minority youth, education and many other issues that affect all Philadelphians,” he said. “I will continue to press for the changes that Philadelphians want, need and demand.”

Butkovitz expressed gratitude for Williams’ support, saying “Michael has displayed a passion for helping Philadelphia’s working families, and it is clear to me that we share that passion in common.”

The spring primary will be held May 21.

From our media partners at PGN-The Philadelphia Gay NewsAngela Thomas

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