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Torsella: Rendell hasn’t asked me to bow out

Torsella: Rendell hasn’t asked me to bow out

Contradicting reports that emerged late Wednesday morning, the Senate campaign of Joe Torsella told that Gov. Ed Rendell has not asked Torsella to exit the Democratic primary in favor of Arlen Specter.

Rendell and President Obama have both signaled that they’ll back Specter, who said he would switch parties, in next year’s primary. But an Associated Press report went further, saying that Rendell was trying to push his protégé out of the race.

In an interview, Torsella spokesman Mark Nevins said that wasn’t true. The AP report did not appear to attribute Rendell’s apparent request to a specific source.

“Joe has had one conversation with the Governor since this all began,” Nevins said. “In that conversation there was no request from Governor Rendell made to Joe to get out of the race.”

A Rendell spokesman could not be immediately reached to comment on the discrepancy.

Nevins also noted Rendell’s oft-stated lack of confidence in political endorsements in general, and said the primary would be decided on Democratic values.

“I would point out that the Governor himself has pointed out that endorsements from elected officials—I believe his words were—’don’t mean jack,'” Nevins said. “I’m not sure Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania are ready to embrace a 45-year politician who voted with George Bush 75 percent of the time.”

April 29, 2009 at 3:07 pm

--Dan Hirschhorn

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