Read the announcement quickly, and it seems like former Gov. Ed Rendell has abandoned his neutrality to back Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski in the 2014 Democratic primary for governor.
Pawlowski’s campaign announced Friday that Rendell had hosted a fundraising reception Thursday night at the offices of law firm Ballard Spahr in Center City, bringing in more than $50,000.
Nice haul, except that money was for Pawlowski’s re-election campaign as mayor of Pennsylvania’s third-largest city, not his gubernatorial effort. Psych!
Pawlowski is running for reelection as mayor this year, as well as for governor in 2014. It can’t hurt either effort to have Rendell as a pal. Before he was governor from 2003-2011, of course, Rendell was, famously, the mayor of Philadelphia.
“Gov. Rendell has been a friend of mine for a long time, and he recognizes the success we have achieved in the transformation of Allentown,” Pawlowski, in his second term, said in a statement. “I was honored that the governor would host a fundraising event for me, and I greatly appreciate his friendship and continued support.”
Several candidates in the crowded primary so far have tried to imply that Rendell, popular among Democratic voters, is supporting them behind the scenes. The talk got so out of hand that the former governor had to call a press conference Sept. 12 to make it clear that he was not backing anyone in the race, not even one of the three candidates who had served in his cabinet in Harrisburg.
To be fair, the Pawlowski release did say the Rendell event was for his mayoral effort, though it's understandable one's eyes might skip over that. Caveat lector.
UPDATE: Later Friday morning, the Allentown mayor's media team sent out a release emphasizing the point. "The event did not serve as an endorsement for his 2014 gubernatorial campaign," adviser Mick Dee said.