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Focused on Senate, Torsella camp waves off Chamber of Commerce rumor

Focused on Senate, Torsella camp waves off Chamber of Commerce rumor

Ever since Senator Arlen Specter defected to the Democrats last week, rumors have been swirling that Democratic power-brokers would try and get Joe Torsella to exit the race by offering him the helm of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce as some kind of consolation prize.

But Torsella’s campaign says he’s only interested in running for U.S. Senate, and that no one has approached him about the job over the last week anyway.

“No one has had any conversations with Joe about the Chamber of Commerce, and Joe’s interest is in running for U.S. Senate … and showing the contrasts between himself and Arlen Specter,” Torsella campaign spokesman Mark Nevins said.

The rumors even made their way into The Inquirer. People familiar with Torsella and with the Chamber of Commerce widely agree it wouldn’t be as plum a job as his recent gig heading up the National Constitution Center. There is some speculation that David Cohen, the Comcast executive and political big-wig who chairs the Chamber’s board, wants to expand its political profile, and would want a trusted ally like Torsella.

But people who know Torsella quietly say that even if he wanted the job, he wouldn’t want it as a kind of political payoff.

“I don’t see it,” one person close to him said.

May 7, 2009 at 11:47 am

--Dan Hirschhorn

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