In the latest sign that Gov. Ed Rendell's Democratic fundraising network is fully engaged behind Sen. Arlen Specter, Comcast executive David L. Cohen is summoning leaders to a meeting next Monday to "step up and make a loud statement" on behalf of the party's most famous recent convert.
Cohen, who was Rendell's City Hall chief of staff when he was mayor of Philadelphia in the 1990s, assigned the funders "homework" - figuring out how to raise at least $5,000 each for Specter's re-election committee before the June 30 quarterly FEC reporting deadline. "We would like to generate a literal outpouring of financial support" for Specter to make a strong statement in the last fundraising week of the quarter, Cohen wrote.
The next fundraising report will be Specter's first as a Democrat.
Specter, who has been endorsed by the White House and the rest of the Democratic establishment, faces a likely primary challenge from Rep. Joe Sestak, of suburban Philadelphia, for the nomination of his new party.
And one of the main topics of discussion at Monday's meeting: A planned Philadelphia visit by President Obama to raise money for Specter and party committees.