Rendell backs Steinke for at-large Philly Council seat

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 Ed Rendell,  former governor of Pennsylvania and former mayor of Philadelphia, endorses Paul Steinke, left, for an at-large Council seat at Reading Terminal Market, where Steinke was general manager for 13 years.  (Katie Colaneri/WHYY)

Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania and former mayor of Philadelphia, endorses Paul Steinke, left, for an at-large Council seat at Reading Terminal Market, where Steinke was general manager for 13 years. (Katie Colaneri/WHYY)

Most endorsements don’t matter much, but a nod from Ed Rendell, the two-term mayor who remains very popular in Philadelphia, is one that’s much sought-after in a city election.

Rendell stood among the lunchtime crowd at Reading Terminal Market Monday to throw his support behind Paul Steinke, the market’s former general manager who is running to represent the entire city as councilman at-large. The former governor recalled how Steinke persuaded merchants to open the market on Sundays, which Rendell said is now “one of the most lucrative days” for business.

“I believe he has the courage, the integrity and the willingness to work with people to bring Center City and the neighborhoods together,” Rendell said.

Steinke is one of 21 Democrats, including four incumbents, running for just five at-large seats. Jim Kenney resigned to run for mayor, leaving open a spot for at least one newcomer. 

Rendell, who has also endorsed developer Allan Domb for Council at-large, said he will commit his time and money from his political committee to help Steinke win.

“This is an uphill fight, but I think we need change,” he said. “There’s some good people on City Council, but City Council’s performance on things like the PGW contract – it’s not good, hurt the city. We need to bring in some people who understand the broad view.”

Rendell also plans to support 7th District Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, who for the third time did not get the Democratic party’s endorsement for her re-election campaign. The party had endorsed challenger Manny Morales until accusations surfaced that he had posted racist and homophobic remarks on Facebook. 

Rendell called Quiñones-Sánchez “a change agent” in Philadelphia and said he will formally endorse her Tuesday, along with former Mayors Wilson Goode Sr. and Bill Green. He has said he is “unlikely to endorse” any of the six Democratic mayoral candidates. 

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