Rendell Back Joe Grace in 1st District Council Race

When is political support not an endorsement?  Maybe when the word "endorsement" doesn't come into play?  These are the questions we are pondering today after receiving the missive below from Joe Grace, one of four Democrats seeking the 1st District City Council seat.  Grace bags a big supporter, former Gov. Ed Rendell.

But we noted that Grace's news release never calls that an endorsement.  We've received news releases from other Council candidates this season -- Bobby Henon and Bill Green, for instance -- that said Rendell was endorsing them.

Grace campaign spokesman Micah Mahjoubian called all this a question of semantics, noting that Rendell personally approved the language in the news release.

"We have his support 100 percent," Mahjoubian said. "For whatever reason, the word ‘endorse’ is not in the release we have from Rendell. But we don’t see that as a lesser amount of support."

UPDATE, 1:11 pm: Mystery solved.  Kirsten Snow, a spokeswoman for Rendell, said he simply approved language provided by Grace's campaign.  Rendell considers that an endorsement, Snow said.

Here's the release from Joe Grace's campaign:

Former Governor Ed Rendell is Supporting Joe Grace for First District City Council

PHILADELPHIA – Former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, one of the most popular and recognized leaders in Philadelphia’s history, is supporting Joe Grace in his bid to win a contested Democratic Primary for First District City Council, Grace’s campaign announced today.

Former Gov. Rendell, who left office in January after two successful terms as Pennsylvania’s governor, also served two terms as mayor of Philadelphia from 1992 through 1999, and is widely credited with having led Philadelphia’s stirring renaissance and revival from a period of fiscal and political decline in the ‘80s.

Mr. Rendell will appear at a fundraising reception for Joe Grace’s campaign for City Council Friday evening at the Pyramid Club, Grace’s campaign announced.

In 2001 and 2002, Grace served as a deputy campaign manager on the successful team that helped Ed Rendell win a hard-fought Democratic primary to become Governor of Pennsylvania. From 2007 through 2010, Grace worked closely with the Rendell Administration in Harrisburg as Grace led CeaseFirePA, a statewide gun violence prevention group fighting for stronger, reasonable gun laws. CeaseFirePA worked closely with Gov. Rendell on the illegal gun issue, and helped build large, statewide coalitions of PA mayors, police chiefs and faith leaders who supported the Rendell Administration’s responsible agenda against illegal gun trafficking.

“I’m deeply honored to have Governor Rendell’s support,” Joe Grace said. “I was proud to work on the team that ran his successful campaign to be elected Governor, and prouder still to have worked side by side with the governor and his administration to reduce gun violence through reasonable reforms of Pennsylvania’s gun laws. I believe my core values are similar to the governor’s values on a host of issues, and I’m enormously proud to have his support.”

“Joe Grace was an integral part of my gubernatorial campaign team and through that process I witnessed his incredible ability to get things done,” former Gov. Rendell said in a statement today. “Through his work with CeaseFirePA, Joe became a nationally recognized leader in the fight against gun violence and for stronger gun laws. He’ll bring badly-needed change and reform to City Council, and he’ll make government work better for all Philadelphians.”