The Brief: Ed Rendell “Not Likely” to Endorse a Mayoral Candidate

So why is he saying nice things about Doug Oliver?

Former Gov. Ed Rendell said Tuesday he is “not likely” to endorse a mayoral candidate in the May 19th primary.

He also announced yesterday that the Rendell Center for Civics & Civic Engagement will hold a mayoral forum on May 4th, in which students in Philadelphia’s school system come up with the questions.

So if Rendell isn’t planning to give a mayoral wannabe his blessing, why is saying nice things about long-shot candidate Doug Oliver?

Last week, he tweeted these kind words about him:

It wasn’t the first time Rendell went out of his way to highlight Oliver. He told Citified in February, “Doug is obviously a young, energetic, refreshing candidate. He comes in with no prior alliances and, in that sense, no baggage. He’s free to do what he believes in. I think he’s very attractive — obviously a long-shot — but very attractive.”

Rendell doesn’t just talk, so what are his intentions here? Does he have an ulterior motive? Or has he simply taken a shine to Oliver? Back in February, I asked him his true goal.

“First of all, I want to encourage citizen soldiers to run,” he said. “I think one of the weaknesses of our political system at every level is the only people who seem to run for office are people who’ve been in politics. And that shouldn’t disqualify them … but we could use the influx of citizen soldiers, and Doug is truly a citizen soldier. And I always want to encourage young people to run.”

So, take that for what it’s worth. The Inquirer also reported that Rendell explained it would be difficult to choose among the candidates for an endorsement due to his relationships with many of them.

Don’t Miss …
  • WHYY’s Dave Davies has this introduction to the three pro-school choice multimillionaires behind a new TV ad campaign backing state Sen. Anthony Williams for mayor. Davies also looks into whether there is any truth to the claim made by former City Councilman Jim Kenney‘s mayoral campaign that the trio is “more concerned with making a profit than a quality school.”
  • Kenney has released a policy paper on education and Williams has unveiled one on ethics. Also, former District Attorney and mayoral candidate Lynne Abraham has a shiny new website.
  • The dark money organization Philadelphia 3.0 has announced it is endorsing five challengers and one incumbent for City CouncilDerek Green, Paul Steinke, Isaiah Thomas, Tom Wyatt, Terry Tracy and City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez. It’s noteworthy that the group is backing four candidates for Democratic City Council At-Large (Green, Steinke, Thomas and Wyatt) in a crowded race, rather than focusing on only one contender. Will that dilute its power?
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