Al Schmidt, a Republican candidate for city commissioner and the leader of an insurgent group challenging the city's Republican Party hierarchy, landed a prized endorsement today, from Democrat Ed Rendell, the former Mayor and governor.

Schmidt put out a press release quoting Rendell as follows:  "Al Schmidt understands that the job of election officials is to run fair, clean and effective elections.  He will do so in a truly bipartisan manner.  That's why I'm supporting him and I hope you will too."

Rendell had previously endorsed Democrat Stephanie Singer for commissioner.  Voters will find four candidates for commissioner on their Nov. 8 ballots.  They'll only be allowed to vote for two, but three will be elected ­– effectively pitting Schmidt against fellow Republican and incumbent Joseph Duda for the third spot.

The fourth candidate for commissioner is incumbent Democrat Anthony Clark.