Goode tops Rizzo in Philadelphia primary, sets out to unite Democrats
W. Wilson Goode is the Democratic choice for mayor of Philadelphia. Running as a candidate who will unify the city, he won support as an efficient, honest administrator, a man who will provide good government.
Corralling 53 percent of the vote, he defeated Frank L. Rizzo, the former two-time ''law and order'' mayor, with 46 percent of the count in a primary that pulled a record number of Democrats to the polls.
Mr. Goode now faces Republican John J. Egan Jr., a high school dropout and one-time Democrat who is currently president of the Philadelphia stock exchange. Mr. Egan easily defeated two GOP foes: former US Congressman Charles F. Dougherty and former basketball star Tom Gola.
Both Egan and Goode may face a third hopeful in the November election. He is Thomas A. Leonard, a former city controller who dropped out of the Democratic primary. If he runs, it will be as an independent. He has 10 days to decide.
Goode is seen as a new face. He ran for public office for the first time in the primary. He is well educated, with a master's degree in public administration from the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. He is also an experienced administrator with three years as city managing director - with responsibility for commissions and running city services, including the police and fire departments - before declaring as a candidate last December.
He attracted white support, including business leaders, economists, and out-of-state Democratic politicians.
Ronald Brown, deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, appeared at the Goode victory rally to pledge the national party's support. Black mayors from other cities, including Marion Barry of Washington, D.C., also showed up along with 13,000 others at the Philadelphia Convention Center.
Local voters see Goode's candidacy as the beginning of a new era in Quaker City politics, with the end of the bombastic, dynamic personality politics of Frank Rizzo, who rose from policeman to police commissioner and served two terms as mayor in a public career that spanned 38 years.
Goode's victory was not sure until nearly 1 a.m. Wednesday. He is favored in the general election for several reasons:
* More than 30 percent of the white voters voted for Goode, compared with less than 18 percent for Harold Washington in Chicago.
* Goode is campaigning on a policy of bringing the city together. Many Philadelphians complain that Rizzo divided the city along racial and ethnic lines.
* The Democratic candidate is seen as an efficient public servant.
Although race was never overtly expressed as a campaign issue, Goode's major obstacle in November is race. Both candidates and the voters recognize this as the factor that brought out more than 600,000 people in Tuesday's election. Blacks voted better than 95 percent for Goode, although Rizzo courted their support and had visible black workers in his campaign. Goode's white vote was more than even his most optimistic supporters foresaw.
Another problem facing Goode will be whether whites desert the Democratic Party. The last mayoral election won by a Republican was in 1947.
This may depend on how much support Rizzo is willing to give the Goode campaign. Rizzo refused to concede on election night when it was obvious that Goode had a lead too great to overcome. The former mayor made his statement at 11 a.m. Wednesday, saying, ''I have telephoned Mr. Goode, congratulating him on his victory. It is tough to lose (Rizzo has never lost an election until this primary), but I must bow to the will of the majority. . . . We demonstrated to the world that Philadelphia is a city of brotherly love. . . . My staff ran this campaign on a positive level with standards of honor and fair play. . . .''
Rizzo, however, did not commit himself to actively supporting Goode. In another development, Mr. Leonard challenged both Goode and Egan to debate, apparently indicating that he will be a candidate.
If Goode wins in November, he will become the 19th black mayor of a city with more than 100,000 people in the United States. In addition to Chicago, blacks are mayors of two other cities with more than 1 million people: Los Angeles with Thomas Bradley and Detroit with Coleman Young