They don’t call Ed Rendell “America’s mayor” for nothing.
Rendell, the Philadelphia mayor-turned-Pennsylvania governor, has pushed back in recent weeks on rumors that he may throw his name into the 2015 mayoral race, saying that his candidacy is a long shot at best.
“At this point, 2015 isn’t on my radar screen,” Rendell, a 1965 College graduate who currently teaches a course on electoral politics at Penn, said. “I don’t think the city is in a position where it needs an all-out rescue, and I don’t foresee it going down the path of dire straits. If the city were at the breaking point I’d consider it, but it isn’t.”
Though calls for Rendell to return to City Hall have surfaced occasionally since he left the governor’s office in 2011, they picked up steam earlier this semester when Allan Domb, a Philadelphia real estate developer, began talking up a “Draft Ed” campaign to encourage the governor to run. Over the past several months, Domb has been recruiting Philadelphians to lobby Rendell to return to office.
“If Ed Rendell announces he’s running, visitors will flock to the city, investors will flock to the city — overnight you’ll have a huge change economically and psychologically in the city,” Domb said. “Ed Rendell is news. He’s respected. He’s somebody who would bring national prominence to Philadelphia in one night.”
Rendell, once dubbed “America’s mayor” by former vice president Al Gore, was one of the most popular political figures in the city’s history when he served in City Hall from 1992 to 2000. The question of whether another four years in office might be in the cards for Rendell has been on the minds of Philadelphia residents since he wrapped up his second term as governor.
Current mayor Michael Nutter, a 1979 Wharton graduate, is ineligible to run because of the city’s two consecutive term limit. The potential mayoral field for 2015, some say, is so far light on talent and experience.
Rendell called the Draft Ed campaign “flattering,” but said that the calls for him re-enter the political fold are “an unnecessary distraction” from Nutter’s remaining time in office.
Like Rendell, several area consultants have brushed off the notion that Rendell would consider running for the office he held throughout the 1990s. Although they agree that a Rendell return would be a boon to Philadelphia’s economy, they say that the former governor seems to have enough on his plate already. Since leaving the governor’s office, Rendell, in addition to teaching his course at Penn, has been special counsel at the law firm Ballard Spahr, an MSNBC commentator and a Philadelphia sports analyst.
“I’ve learned not to rule anything out with him, but I think the governor is enjoying his post-office life a lot,” Mary Isenhour, who has served as a strategist and adviser to Rendell, said.
Michael Bronstein, a Philadelphia-based political consultant, said that the nostalgia for Rendell’s return is largely overblown.
“Ed Rendell is the cheesesteak, the Liberty Bell and running up the Rocky Steps personified — he’s the closest thing Philly has to a flag right now,” he said. “People like to dream about a Rendell reunion. Does that mean it’s going to happen? Probably not.”Comments powered by Disqus
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