PHILADELPHIA – Some folks are nostalgic for former Gov. Ed Rendell to stop being the former mayor of Philadelphia.
Real estate developer Allan Domb said he’s begun a “draft Ed” initiative in hopes of convincing Rendell to run for mayor in 2015 – and said, so far, Rendell has yet to discourage such talk.
“I think he’s convincible,” Domb told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He didn’t tell me ‘no.”’
Rendell was the city’s mayor from 1991 to 2000 before serving two terms as governor, and Domb believes Rendell could solve problems with the city’s financially failing schools and other issues.
“If Ed Rendell is mayor, the spirit of Philadelphia will change overnight, investment from the business community will skyrocket immediately,” Domb said.
Though Rendell refused to comment through a spokesman, other political observers believe a Rendell redux is far-fetched.
Rendell has been busy since leaving the Governor’s Mansion, including posts as senior adviser to Greenhill & Co. and as a partner with Radnor private equity firm Element Partners, not to mention “fun” jobs commenting on his beloved Philadelphia Eagles for Comcast Sportsnetwork and as a political talking head on MSNBC.
Sam Katz, a two-time Republican nominee for mayor who now heads a state-appointed board overseeing the city’s finances, doesn’t believe Rendell would enjoy the tasks on the horizon for the city’s next mayor.
In addition to propping up the city’s financially strapped schools, the city has pension liabilities and infrastructure issues, Katz said.
“The things the mayor will need to do over the next eight years are not things Ed’s going to want to do,” Katz said. “He spent the first year in City Hall cutting, and hated it – but most of his experience, in the city and the state, was during times of economic expansion.”
Mary Isenhour, the strategist on Rendell’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign, said she doesn’t know of any serious plans for Rendell to run, but said, “Who wouldn’t want Ed Rendell as mayor again?”
Democratic consultant Daniel McElhatton said Rendell could generate more excitement than the half dozen politicians most frequently cited as likely Democrat nominees.
“All the candidates out there are unknowns. Ed Rendell is a known commodity,” McElhatton said.
Katz believes Rendell’s record could take a hit if he’s elected again during such tough times.
“Why take a reputation that borders on as good as it gets and put it at risk?” Katz said.
But Domb believes the city’s desperate times call for desperate measures.
“Who do you put in a basketball game with 44 seconds left and everything on the line?” Domb said. “Your best player.”