Presidential campaigns are all about priorities.

Throw a swanky fund-raiser with high-powered donors doling out the dollars, and former Vice President Joe Biden will show up.

Gather 2,000 union members for a presidential forum to talk lunch-pail politics — well, Biden still hasn’t sent in his RSVP for that one.

Biden’s focus on fund-raising was in the news again this week when one of his loudest cheerleaders, former Gov. Ed Rendell, penned an op-ed slamming Sen. Elizabeth Warren for going after the former veep about his money game.

In a rogue Washington Post piece, Rendell defended Biden’s fund-raising and called Warren of Massachusetts “a hypocrite” for slamming the former vice president, given Rendell had personally hosted similar events for Warren in 2018.

Rendell said he wrote the op-ed because the Post asked, but now Biden’s camp is “a little ticked off” because it didn’t know the attack was coming. One group seemed to enjoy it: supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who with Biden and Warren are the party’s top-tier candidates in recent polling.

“The Bernie bots are happy,” Rendell said.

Warren sent supporters an email in April that called Biden out for hosting a “swanky private fund-raiser for wealthy donors" in Philadelphia.

Biden is scheduled to appear at another high-dollar event Sept. 23 in Center City, with hosts that include Rendell and Comcast senior vice president David L. Cohen.

The Wall Street Journal has also reported that Biden’s campaign will “hold a retreat for top donors” three weeks from now in Philadelphia.

Biden has still not confirmed whether he will attend the Philadelphia AFL-CIO’s Workers Presidential Summit next Tuesday at the Convention Center, four blocks from his campaign headquarters.

Pat Eiding, local AFL-CIO president, made it clear two weeks ago he was peeved that Biden would not commit to the union event but has time for fund-raisers. This week, Eiding said he was still holding out hope that Biden and other candidates show.

“We want them all to come,” Eiding said. “You don’t win Pennsylvania without Philadelphia. And you don’t win Philadelphia without the workers.”

Biden’s camp this week again cited his long support for organized labor. How will that resonate if 2,000 union members feel snubbed on Tuesday?

“They’re definitely going to take notice of who was there,” Eiding said.

Just six Democratic candidates, including Sanders, are locked in for the Workers’ Presidential Summit.

Warren is not attending. Sounds as if she and Eiding would have a lot to talk about.

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Brady in Washington, D.C. in 2018.
Heather Khalifa / File Photograph
Former U.S. Rep. Bob Brady in Washington, D.C. in 2018.

Philly Democrats fill a ‘magic seat’ for judge, with some dissent

Philadelphia’s Democratic ward leaders on Wednesday picked Crystal Powell, who recently resigned from the District Attorney’s Office, to fill a slot on the Nov. 5 general election ballot for a 10-year term on the Court of Common Pleas.

Party Chairman Bob Brady said the vote was 65-4, with “some of our more progressive people” objecting to the pick. No other candidates were nominated.

The party had the chance to fill what some call a “magic seat” — no need for the candidate to raise money or campaign for a sure-thing election — because Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd withdrew his bid for retention from the ballot.

Brady said Powell, who lost a bid for judge two years ago, has done work for the party for 25 years.

“And we owe her,” he said. “I’m sure some of the progressives don't like our party rules. Well, don’t join the party.”

Nikil Saval, Democratic leader of the 2nd Ward, was a no vote. He had concerns about Powell, who wasn’t recommended by the Philadelphia Bar Association in 2017, and the process, since not much of her legal record was discussed at the meeting.

“I think there’s probably a better process for selecting judges who are effectively appointed for life,” Saval said. “I think we should take that very seriously.”

Joe Gale accuses the Montco GOP of ‘sabotage’ … again

You know an election is coming up in Montgomery County if Joe Gale is accusing the Republican Party of sabotage. Gale this week sent an “open letter” to county Republican Committee Chairperson Liz Preate Havey, accusing her of “purposeful and underhanded sabotage” of his campaign.

If that sounds familiar, Gale made a similar claim in October 2015, while on his way to winning the lone Republican seat as county commissioner.

Gale’s new claim rests on a sample ballot circulated during the primary election by Fred Conner, the other Republican running for commissioner in the general election. It was the same color, green, and had similar dimensions as the party’s official sample ballot.

Gale is incensed the party did not take legal action against Conner, though he acknowledges he didn’t bother to take the case to court either.

“My goal is to win in the court of public opinion because this should be up to the Republican Party to take it to court,” Gale said.

Gale has also spent money this summer airing campaign ads on radio, attacking Sen. Pat Toomey as a “RINO,” an acronym for Republican In Name Only. Toomey is backing Conner, it seems.

Conner and Gale each took about a quarter of the vote in the five-candidate primary. Preate Havey said the party is supporting both in the general election.