Skip to content
News
Link copied to clipboard

Fumo to bow out

Embattled State Sen. Vincent F. Fumo, besieged by legal, health and and political problems, has told advisors that he will announce today that he will not seek reelection, sources said.

Embattled State Sen. Vincent F. Fumo, besieged by legal, health and and political problems, has told advisors that he will announce today that he will not seek reelection, sources said.

Fumo, a power in Philadelphia and Harrisburg politics for 30 years, is scheduled to be joined by Gov. Rendell in Philadelphia to announce that Fumo will drop out of the April 22 Democratic primary, the political sources said.

The state senator is expected to cite his need to recover from the March 2 heart attack that hospitalized Fumo for a week. He was released on Sunday.

In September, Fumo in scheduled to go on trial on a massive 139-count indictment charging with defrauding taxpayers and two nonprofit organizations, and with attempting an coverup to obstruct the FBI investigation.

He is facing three opponents in the primary, including a well-financed effort from John Dougherty, the labor leader who is a bitter Fumo enemy.

Ken Snyder, a Fumo spokesman, did not respond to telephone calls seeking comment.

Brilliant and uncommonly effective, but also manipulative, Fumo put his stamp on Philadelphia and Pennsylvania politics for 35 years.

Just one of seven state senators from Philadelphia, a Democrat in a state capital often dominated by Republicans, Fumo wielded influence far out of proportion to his nominal position.

He was the key legislator in ushering casino gambling into Pennsylvania.

And over the years, Fumo boasted with considerable justification, he got a legislature hostile to Philadelphia to give the city $8 billion.

Fumo did it all by dint of his intelligence, his political genius, his crack staff, his skill at forging alliances and his network of allies, protégés and patronage moles seemingly placed everywhere.

"Vince Fumo plays politics in three dimensions while everyone else plays in two," Ted Hershberg, a professor of public policy at the University of Pennsylvania, said a few years ago. "He's several moves ahead."

At the same time, the federal indictment portrayed Fumo as using his political aides as personal servant and with misusing the Independence Seaport Museum and a South Philadelphia chairty run by a former aide, the Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods.