Katie McGinty has landed the former head of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, T.J. Rooney, as chairman of her campaign for governor and has tweaked the state paperwork to end the “exploratory” status of her committee. She’s all in.
“As a former Democratic Party chair and state legislator, T.J. Rooney brings a wealth of statewide political experience to our campaign to create jobs, improve public schools and help families succeed,” McGinty said in a statement.
Rooney, an ally of former Gov. Ed Rendell (D), was party chairman from 2003 to 2010, and has been serving as a senior adviser to McGinty. Before his party leadership stint, Rooney was a state representative from the Lehigh Valley for 14 years.
“Katie is lucky to have T.J. on her team,” Rendell said. “T.J. knows Pennsylvania’s political landscape as well as anyone. We wouldn’t have made some of the significant gains we made as a party without his leadership.”
McGinty was environmental protection secretary in the Rendell administration, and worked as a senior environmental adviser in the Clinton White House and to former Vice President Al Gore.
In other staffing news, veteran western Pennsylvania strategist Mike Mikus joined McGinty as campaign manager earlier in June. He was the architect of victories by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Rep. Mark Critz and former Rep. Jason Altmire; the latter two won in swing districts, providing some bright spots for the Democratic Party in the west. Mikus also has worked on politics for several unions.