As general chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2000, Rendell came under fire from party insiders for urging Al Gore to accept George W. Bush as the election winner. The same critics have questioned whether Rendell will do his duty as party leader in Pennsylvania and support Democratic Rep. Joe Hoeffel against Specter. The governor will take that step and even help raise money for Hoeffel.
Fresh out of law school and unable to find a job in 1968, Rendell was hired by then Philadelphia District Attorney Specter. They have remained friends over the years, and Pennsylvania political sources say the governor gave Specter secret assistance in the recent hard-fought Republican primary.
A CONSERVATIVE WINS
The Club for Growth, which narrowly lost its effort to defeat Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Republican primary, scored a comeback Tuesday in an open congressional seat in Nebraska.
Curt Bromm, speaker of the single-house Nebraska Legislature, had been tapped by the party establishment and retiring 13-term Rep. Doug Bereuter for the usually Republican seat. But Bromm, hit by $170,000 worth of Club for Growth radio and television ads assailing his support for state tax increases, lost badly to former Lincoln City Councilmember Jeff Fortenberry. Bereuter, under fire by conservatives for opposing repeal of the estate tax in 2000, had anointed Bromm to succeed him.
Bromm also was opposed by the Americans for Tax Reform because of his tax positions, but the Club for Growth preferred a third candidate over Fortenberry. Social conservatives were against Bromm for backing fetal tissue research at the University of Nebraska, while Fortenberry is solidly pro-life.