Rendell holds press conference to not endorse any gubernatorial candidates

rendell1Name the one person in Philadelphia who needs to hold a press conference just to say he’s not endorsing a candidate for governor—then proceeds to not endorse anyone in no less than 563 words, which is just slightly shorter than one of his Daily News sports columns.

Former Governor Ed Rendell held a press conference at the Bellevue Park Hyatt in Center City to tell the world that while he’s way into some of the Democratic candidates running for office this year, he’s not going to make an endorsement, because that would sort of be lame.

Most specifically, though, he wanted to quash any rumors that he’d be supporting U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13), who is giving up her seat in Congress to run for state office in 2014.

“I want to take this opportunity to clear up any ambiguity concerning who I am endorsing in next year’s Democratic Primary for Governor,” he 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.”

However, as he notes: “I am not endorsing any candidate.”

His official statement went onto note that each candidate was awesome in her or his own way—sort of like the non-analogous version of John Baer’s “sports” column from earlier this week.

Seven candidates have elected to run in the Democratic primary this year, though four more are expected to join before the season’s upon us. As it happens—and as Rendell makes apparent—he’s sort of connected to most of them. Check out the full statement below:

I want to take this opportunity to clear up any ambiguity concerning who I am endorsing in next year’s Democratic Primary for Governor. 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. You all know I have spoken about the need for more women to run for and hold public office for most of my political career and I feel very strongly about helping to make this a reality and believe that Emily’s List is the best vehicle to make this happen. Upon reflection, I can see how this might have lead people to believe that I was endorsing Congresswoman Schwartz.

To clarify, I am not endorsing any candidate. I have a very high regard for her as a person and as a political leader. I worked extremely well with her during my time as Mayor and Governor when she served first as a State Senator and the as a Congresswoman. But I have an equally high regard for the other five Candidates in the race as well. 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. Katie McGinty and John Hanger served me and the people of Pennsylvania brilliantly during their tenure as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. They both understood and demonstrated that we can protect and preserve our environment and at the same time grow our economy. They helped make our state third in the number of green economy jobs created behind only California and Texas. Tom Wolf joined my administration in 2007 and served ably as Secretary of Revenue. During his tenure he significantly improved our collection of taxes and supervised the continued changes to the Pennsylvania Lottery that made it the third fastest growing lottery in the country.

I also believe that State Treasurer Rob McCord and Mayor Ed Pawlowski of Allentown would make good candidates and fine Governors. Rob has done an outstanding job as Treasurer and possesses a keen understanding of the high tech economy. Ed has been a great Mayor with whom I worked with to achieve the outstanding turnaround taking place in Allentown. He understands economic development and brings creativity and persistence to the task.

Therefore, I have decided to not make an endorsement in the Democratic Primary for Governor. The Primary will be a true test of who our strongest general election candidate will be. All of these six fine individuals are committed to restoring appropriate levels of funding for our school children’s education. They are each committed to preserving our environment and our quality of life while at the same time growing our economy with the help of the best educated work force possible. Each of them will work to ensure that every Pennsylvanian has access to affordable healthcare. I will give my wholehearted support to the winner, financial and otherwise. I will do everything I can to ensure the return of fair, caring and progressive leadership to Our Commonwealth.

Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyLoBasso

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