AS WE'VE SAID before, PhillyClout has a soft spot for stories of political redemption.

Four years ago, the Democratic City Committee pushed ousted John Dougherty, business manager for Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, as party treasurer.

Dougherty had clashed with the party chairman, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, after running members of his union for committee jobs already held by party loyalists. He decided not to run again for treasurer in 2006 after the rift with Brady and the party secretary, the late Carol Campbell.

On Monday, Dougherty was unanimously elected as leader of South Philly's 1st Ward. Could a return to the job as party treasurer be far off in the future?

One problem: State Rep. Frank Oliver, who replaced Dougherty in that post, wants to run for it again when the Democrats gather for elections Monday. Oliver said he cleared that with Brady.

"If I want to remain the treasurer, he says I can," said Oliver, who is not running for re-election this year for his state House set. "I will be a candidate for re-election as treasurer. No question about that."

Brady said there was significant speculation this week that Dougherty might want to be treasurer again, adding that Dougherty will not try to unseat Oliver.

"We don't take anyone out if they don't want to be taken out," Brady said. "As far as Johnny is concerned, he doesn't want to take Frank Oliver out if Frank wants to stay."

Brady offered a possible solution: Naming Dougherty chairman of a new finance committee.

If that sounds familiar - only in reverse - that's how Brady and Campbell gave Dougherty the shove in 2006. They organized a new finance committee and then didn't invite Dougherty to the first meeting.

Rendell stops by the tea party

Here's a Sesame Street-style political quiz: Which of these things is not like the other?

Former GOP veep hopeful Sarah Palin; U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul; Paul's son Rand, a Senate candidate in Kentucky; U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint . . . and Gov. Rendell.

If you answered correctly, with Rendell, you may ask next: Why in the world would the Democratic governor tape the first episode of a new Fox Business Channel political program called "Freedom Watch" - hosted by the ultraconservative Judge Andrew Napolitano - with the Fab Five of the Far Right?

Rendell spokesman Gary Tuma said Napolitano had asked Rendell to respond to a lengthy panel on the tea party that featured Palin and the other conservatives.

The governor has been criticized frequently on liberal blogs for his willingness to go on the related Fox News Channel.

Tuma said Rendell does so because "he believes that people who think like he does politically have an obligation to present their views to all citizens and to all segments of the population."

The show airs 10 a.m. Saturday.


"He started out on Wall Street, and that's where Pat Toomey's heart remains."

- an opening salvo from, which went live this week, sponsored by the Lantern Project, a political nonprofit that plans to focus on former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey as he battles U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak for the U.S. Senate.

Staff writer Will Bunch contributed to this report.

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