Biden to enter 2020 race Thursday; Rendell, other Philly donors ready to help

Former vice president Joe Biden talks with officials after speaking at a rally in support of striking Stop & Shop workers in Boston, Thursday, April 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Former vice president Joe Biden talks with officials after speaking at a rally in support of striking Stop & Shop workers in Boston, Thursday, April 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Former Vice President Joe Biden will formally enter the presidential race Thursday, according to the Associated Press, and some top Philadelphia Democrats will be reeling in some big checks for his campaign by nightfall.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and others are planning a fundraiser Thursday at the home of Comcast Senior Executive Vice President David L. Cohen.

They’re asking donors for $2,800, the maximum contribution allowed for a primary campaign under federal rules.

Biden would be the 20th candidate to enter a Democratic field that is sure to shrink over time.

Why are they going all in for Biden so early in the primary process?

Rendell said in a phone interview Biden is the most experienced and qualified in the field, having served decades in the Senate and eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president.

“There’s no aspect of what a president does that he doesn’t know and hasn’t done,” Rendell said. “And he gave great advice to President Obama. I think he was probably the most impactful vice president of my lifetime.”

Rendell said Biden is the smart choice for party as well as the country.

“We can’t win unless we retrieve a lot of those working class Democrats who voted for [President Donald] Trump,” he said. “Joe Biden speaks their language. He’s very popular with union members. He’s the best candidate we have to bring those voters back into the Democratic fold.”

In an email soliciting support for the fundraiser, Cohen wrote that besides Rendell and Nutter, the “Philadelphia finance leadership team” for the effort includes former U.S. Rep. and city Democratic Chairman Bob Brady, developer Ron Rubin, Independence Blue Cross CEO Dan Hilferty, and politically-active attorneys Steve Cozen and Ken Jarin.

Pennsylvania, which voted narrowly for Trump in 2016, will be a key state for Democrats next year. Biden comes from Scranton, and has many close ties in Philadelphia.

Rendell said Biden would be in Philadelphia for a rally sometime in May.

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