Prominent Philly Democrats Rendell, Nutter plan Joe Biden fundraiser

Former Vice President Joe Biden looks on at left as then-Pa. Gov. Ed Rendell speaks during a news conference at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009.  (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

Former Vice President Joe Biden looks on at left as then-Pa. Gov. Ed Rendell speaks during a news conference at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

Some of Philadelphia’s most prominent Democrats, including former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, former Mayor Michael Nutter, and Comcast Senior Executive Vice President David L. Cohen are planning a fundraiser for former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential bid “within a day or two of his formal announcement.”

Cohen sent an email to potential contributors Wednesday soliciting donations of $2,800, the maximum federal primary contribution for the event.

“We keep hearing that Vice President Joe Biden is seriously considering a run for President,” Cohen writes in the email. “Speaking personally, I am very hopeful that he will move forward in announcing his candidacy soon.”

Cohen said a group wants to “make a big Philadelphia statement” if Biden does announce, and says he’s pulled together a “Philadelphia finance leadership team” including Rendell, Nutter, former U.S. Rep. and Philadelphia Democratic City Committee Chairman Bob Brady, former state Sen. Connie Williams, developer Ron Rubin, Independence Blue Cross CEO Dan Hilferty, and attorneys Steve Cozen, Charisse Lillie, and Ken Jarin, “with others to follow.”

The move represents a decision by the group to back Biden early in the 2020 Democratic primary process when candidates are still entering the race. So far, 18 candidates have announced their candidacies for the nomination.

Biden has made statements suggesting he’s inclined to enter the race but hasn’t committed. As he mulls a presidential bid, several women have come forward to accuse Biden of inappropriate behavior, including unwanted touching and kissing. Biden has since vowed to be “more respectful.”

One person familiar with the fundraiser said it springs from longstanding friendships between Biden and the players involved and a belief he would be the most effective candidate against Republican President Donald Trump.

In his email, Cohen said Philadelphia “has always been a second home to Joe Biden and his family.”

Calls and texts to Cohen, Rendell, and Nutter weren’t immediately returned.

Cohen is among the city’s most influential figures. Besides his leading role at Comcast, he is chairman of the University of Pennsylvania board of trustees, a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s executive committee, and a member of many other civic and non-profit boards.

He has a long and close association with Rendell, managing his successful 1991 campaign for mayor and serving as Rendell’s chief of staff from 1992 to 1997.

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