Pennsylvania's political circles are abuzz with a rumor -- first reported last night on Capitolwire, an on-line news service based in Harrisburg -- that Tom Knox is pursuing a deal to drop out of the May Democratic primary election for governor and endorse Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato in return for some plum state job, perhaps a post on the state Liquor Control Board.
Knox campaign manager Josh Morrow last night denied the report, repeating in an odd monotone: "It's just a rumor. It's just a rumor. It's just a rumor."
But PhillyClout hears there is substance to the rumor. So what would motivate Knox, a self-made millionaire who worked his way up from the projects in Philadelphia, to drop out? Could it be money? Knox and all other statewide candidates must file a campaign finance report on Feb. 1 that details their fund-raising and spending for 2009. We hear Knox's wife was reluctant to have him repeat a self-funded campaign, as he did by spending $11 million of his own money in an unsuccessful run for mayor of Philadelphia in 2007.
A Knox campaign spokesman predicted months ago that he could spend as much as $20 million of his own money on a run for governor. Knox was far less forthcoming when we asked him about that in November, saying that he was actively fund-raising for his campaign. "I never give anyone a number," Knox said about how much of his own money he might spend. "If I did, my wife would have my head."