Rendell stays neutral in governor's race

Dad always liked me best.

That’s essentially what’s being whispered behind the scenes in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, as candidates and their supporters intimate to party activists, fundraisers and reporters that former Gov. Ed Rendell, the big kahuna of Pennsylvania Democrats, is secretly backing them/their horse.

Rendell had to call a press conference Thursday to tell everybody to knock it off – he’s not endorsing anyone in the governor’s race. The former governor went on to praise almost all of the candidates running (he can be forgiven for forgetting a few; there are at least seven, perhaps as many as 10, in the race at this point).

The instant cause of his announcement was the need to quash rumors that he was supporting U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, considered by some to be the early frontrunner.

“I want to take this opportunity to clear up any ambiguity concerning who I am endorsing in next year’s Democratic Primary for Governor,” Rendell said. “This topic likely arose because I am the co-chair of a fundraiser for Emily’s List, a national organization dedicated to electing more women to political office. Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz has been endorsed as their candidate for Governor and she is going to speak at the event. However, the money raised at the event does not go to the Schwartz Campaign but is to be used to elect female candidates all over the country.” Rendell has long supported the organization and its goal of electing more women.

Assessing the candidates one by one, Rendell noted that “three of them served in my cabinet and to try to choose one of them would be like asking a father to pick his favorite of three children.” He was referring to former Department of Environmental Protection secretaries Katie McGinty and John Hanger, as well as to former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf, owner of a building products company in York County.

Here is a report from Philadelphia Weekly. (includes a transcript of Rendell’s remarks.)