Back to the future: Mayor Ed Rendell?

     Then-Philadelphia-Mayor Ed Rendell speaks to reporters at the conclusion of the SEPTA strike in 1998. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)

    Then-Philadelphia-Mayor Ed Rendell speaks to reporters at the conclusion of the SEPTA strike in 1998. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)

    Rendell for mayor? He’s thinking more about going to Washington if Hillary Clinton gets elected president.

    There’s been talk among Philadelphia political junkies for more than a year that Ed Rendell, generally regarded as a successful two-term mayor in the 1990’s, might be convinced to run again in 2015. Real estate broker Allan Domb has talked up a Draft Ed movement.

    Those pushing the idea think that either the entire crop of announced and potential candidates (listed below) are unimpressive, or that those who would be any good lack the money and political muscle to win. So why not Ed?

    Rendell told me someone is always asking him to “run for mayor and save the city.”

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    “It’s not just business people and political people who call me and say that,” he said. “I can’t go to an AM-PM or a 7-11 without people saying, ‘you’ve got to run for mayor again.'”

    Rendell said he doesn’t think the city needs saving. If Philadelphia were in a desperate, Detroit-like crisis, he said, he’d consider running again. But that’s just not the case, and so nobody should be looking for him to come to the rescue.

    Two candidates have formally announced for mayor, former city economic development official Terry Gillen and former city solicitor Ken Trujillo, and former District Attorney Lynn Abraham has said she intends to run. Among other prospects, state Sen. Anthony Williams and City Controller Alan Butkovitz are likely entrants, while City Councilman Jim Kenney is weighing his options. Nobody knows what to expect of City Council President Darrell Clarke, who would be a formidable candidate if he decided to get in.

    What does Rendell think of the field?

    “I think there are some talented people who are interested,” Rendell said, “and citizens should just try to learn more about them and try to listen.”

    Rendell says he loved being mayor, but he other plans.

    “I really want to spend a lot of my time in 2015 and 2016 helping Hillary Clinton hopefully become president of the United States,” he said “And then if she would want me to do something that I would consider relevant, then I might go back into public service.”

    When I asked Rendell if he wanted to say definitively that he won’t run, he’s said, “it’s just not on my radar.”

    I know of at least one prominent Democrat who’s still hoping to change his mind.  Nominating petitions for mayor are due March 10th of next year.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal