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After Amtrak Derailment, Philadelphia Mayoral Candidates Alter Campaigning Plans

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Last night's Amtrak train derailment is also affecting the Philadelphia mayoral race, with candidates canceling some events and otherwise keeping a low profile.

The primary is just six days away, so this would normally be a busy day of reaching out to voters for the candidates.

But several candidates are canceling appearances out of respect for those killed and injured in the train derailment.

In fact, three of the candidates canceled meet-and-greet events at SEPTA stations; Nelson Diaz had originally scheduled one at the Frankford terminal, not far from the derailment.

Jim Kenney canceled two events today but went ahead with an appearance at a jobs fair for veterans.

"I feel more sad today than I feel like campaigning," he acknowledged to KYW Newsradio, "but I feel like veterans certainly deserve our attention."

No candidates have suspended their campaigns, but they will likely lay low, so don't expect any mudslinging in the next day or so.

Doug Oliver, shaking hands in Love Park this morning, said the train derailment can't help but cast a pall over campaigning.

"It does change your mindset as you go about campaigning," he said.

Oliver said that he and the other candidates must walk a fine line campaigning in the aftermath of the train accident.

"You want to be mindful not to use the tragedy for political purposes in any way, shape, or form," Oliver said.  "And there's always that sensitivity.  There should be that sensitivity."

Another risk for the candidates, according to Oliver, is making statements that could second-guess the current mayor.

"You can get in the way, and you don't want to be in the way.  We have a mayor right now, and he is on top of things," Oliver said.

So, the mayoral candidates will continue to adjust their plans as events warrant, and Kenney expects all the candidates to be mindful of the tone of their statements.

"We need to sometimes step back and say that real life happens, and real-life tragedies happen.  And some of this campaigning stuff is clearly not as important as the families that are going through what they're going through today," Kenney said.



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