Ed Rendell has not and will not support any of the candidates in the Democratic primary for Governor.
The former Governor called a press conference to clear up his role in an upcoming fundraiser for EMILY’s List. The DC-based organization helps female Democrats seek and win elected office, and has endorsed Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz in the Pa. race.
But that doesn’t mean he’s backing Schwartz – or anyone – Rendell said.
“The money raised at the event is not going to the Schwartz campaign but is to be used to elect female candidates around the country,” he said.
“Several of the candidates called me to complain about the invitation… and said it created the impression with prospective donors that I was in fact supporting Congresswoman Schwartz.”
He had warm words for Schwartz as well as Treasurer Rob McCord and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.
He saved his highest praise for 3 of his former cabinet secretaries in the race: Department of Environmental Protection Secs. John Hanger and Katie McGinty as well as former Revenue Sec. Tom Wolf.
“Three of them served in my cabinet. To try to choose one of those three would be like asking a father to pick his favorite among three children,” he said.
“I’m not saying that if I picked a candidate they would automatically win, but that would probably give them a significant advantage,” he boasted.
He denied that he is secretly helping McGinty and compared that rumor to one that President Clinton – another former employer of McGinty’s – is doing the same.
“I’ve heard gossip that President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton are supporting Katie. I spoke to President Clinton’s right-hand man at the Clinton Foundation and he talked to me about the race and said, ‘look, we’re friends with all of them. We’re staying as far away from that as we can.’”
He later said only an “extraordinary change” in the dynamic of the race would lead him to endorse any candidate before primary day, and said no new candidate entering the race would change his mind.
He made brief complimentary statements after a reporter reminded him that Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz is in the race, and that former Auditor Jack Wagner is considering a run.
Why does Rendell’s choice matter? Because the former Guv is a prolific fundraiser who served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and could direct significant resources to a candidate of his choice.
He said he would fully support the nominee, although he cautioned that Gov. Tom Corbett will be difficult to defeat.