Pa. Gov. Rendell outlines possible Rep. Sestak job-offer scenario

Pa. Gov. Rendell outlines possible  Rep. Sestak job-offer scenario


Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) said Wednesday he didn’t know if the White House tried to push Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) out of the state’s Senate primary with a job offer.

But he thinks he knows how it could have happened, because he once made a similar move.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I don’t know, but I will tell what I think happened. I did the same thing with Joe Hoeffel in 2006 when Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyThe Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Democrats press Trump Treasury picks on donor disclosure guidelines Pennsylvania school district turns down local businessman's offer to pay off student lunch debts MORE told [then-Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman] Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down MORE [N.Y.] he would run as long as he had no primary,” Rendell said in an interview with the Hill.

Rendell said he called Hoeffel, a former Pennsylvania Democratic congressman, into his office and showed him polling that Bob Casey, Jr., who eventually won the Senate seat from Rick Santorum (R), was a better general-election candidate. He also said that he told Hoeffel he didn’t want a divided primary that would drain the Democrats’ resources before facing the well-funded Santorum.

Rendell said he told Hoeffel that if he did withdraw from challenging Casey, he should come see the governor to discuss what’s next for him but did not offer him a specific position in his administration.

“ ‘I know you have a desire to stay in government. You are like me. You are a government junkie,’ ” Rendell said he told Hoeffel. The governor did end up appointing Hoeffel as deputy secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development.

“He did withdraw. He did come to see me. I put him in charge of our foreign trade — it’s called World Trade PA. He did a great job,” Rendell said.

Rendell said he thinks similar discussions went on between Sestak and the White House.

“I guarantee you that the White House did not say, ‘Withdraw and we’ll make you Secretary of Navy,’ ” Rendell said. He added that the White House and Sestak should address the issue quickly, though, in order to resolve it.

“The voters don’t care about it. This is a Beltway issue. We can get this behind them and start concentrating on the real issues,” Rendell said. “If you let it linger, it grows.”

Meanwhile, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday requested that the administration appoint a special prosecutor to probe allegations it offered Sestak a job.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderJuan Williams: Democrats finally hit Trump where it hurts GOP governor vetoes New Hampshire bill to create independent redistricting commission Why target Tucker Carlson? It's part of the left's war on the right MORE, the members say the alleged offer could have violated federal laws that prohibit the “promise of employment or other benefit for political activity.”

Republicans have escalated pressure on the White House and Sestak to reveal what, if anything, was offered to Sestak to give Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) — whom President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein Obama3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Obama's high school basketball jersey sells for 0,000 at auction Dirty little wars and the law: Did Osama bin Laden win? MORE endorsed — a clear path for reelection.

Republican senators who signed the letter are: ranking member Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDOJ should take action against China's Twitter propaganda Lewandowski says he's 'happy' to testify before House panel The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE (Ala.), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (Utah), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP senators call for Barr to release full results of Epstein investigation Trump health official: Controversial drug pricing move is 'top priority' Environmental advocates should take another look at biofuels MORE (Iowa), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid Graham warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid MORE (S.C.), John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters Democrats keen to take on Cornyn despite formidable challenges The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape MORE (Texas) and Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access MORE (Okla.)

Several months ago, Sestak claimed he received an offer from the White House. At the time, Sestak was trailing the Republican-turned-Democratic senator, but eventually beat him in the primary last week.

It’s not clear how the White House will respond to the letter; officials have remained mum on the subject in recent days despite taking repeated questions from the press about the topic.

Several high-profile Democrats have also called on the White House and Sestak to clear the air, including Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility House panel investigating decision to resume federal executions To combat domestic terrorism, Congress must equip law enforcement to fight rise in white supremacist attacks MORE (Ill.), a close ally of Obama.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who has led the charge in calling for a probe, has called the offer an “impeachable offense” if proven true.

— Kevin Bogardus, Russell Berman and Jordan Fabian

Former DNC chairman says the party should prepare for big losses in election

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) said Wednesday that Democrats on Capitol Hill should expect big losses in the 2010 midterm elections. 

Rendell told The Hill the best-case scenario was for the party to hold 54 to 55 Senate seats while only losing 20 to 25 House seats. That would still keep Democrats in the majority in both chambers.

“We are going to lose and people say it is shocking that the Obama administration is in such tatters. Baloney!” Rendell said.

The former Democratic National Committee chairman said the tough economy would be to blame for party losses this November. He said President Ronald Reagan also lost big numbers of House seats during his first term midterm election because people were hurting from the economy then too and that President Barack Obama has a much bigger economic challenge on his hands than Reagan did.

“You have the worst recession since the Depression. When people lose their jobs, lose their 401(k)s, lose their homes, they are going to be angry and their anger is going to be directed at people in office,” Rendell said.

The Pennsylvania governor, who is leaving office after this election, said his political advice to candidates would be not to run away from their incumbent positions or the president.

Instead, they should campaign on what they have achieved in office. If he had voted for the healthcare reform bill, the governor said, he would give example after example of how it would improve people’s lives now, such as children not being denied healthcare coverage for pre-existing conditions as of Sept. 1 this year.

“If you’re an incumbent, you can’t hide. You can’t run away. Run on what you have done, run on what you have done,” Rendell said.

— K.B. and R.B.


Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGraham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Rand Paul to 'limit' August activities due to health MORE shakes up campaign in wake of controversy

Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul (R) replaced his campaign manager with a veteran staffer from his father’s 2008 presidential run, the Ballot Box has confirmed.

David Adams, the former manager, will now be campaign chairman with Jesse Benton coming in as manager. Benton was Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) communications director during his 2008 presidential run.

Adams denied the shake-up was a result of the media firestorm that resulted from Rand Paul’s comments about civil rights.

“This is totally unrelated to that,” he told the Ballot Box. Adams said the move had been “in the works” since before the primary vote.

Still, he admitted that word leaked about the changes before the campaign was prepared to make a public announcement. The change was first reported by The Washington Post.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We’re in the process still of putting everything on paper,” he said. “We’re still working on this internally.”

Adams said he was satisfied with his new role. “I’m very pleased with the changes. It will make my life easier,” he said.

The Paul campaign is expecting to announce new hires in the coming days, he added.

— S.J.M.

Miller is a campaign reporter for The Hill.  He can be found on The Hill’s Ballot Box, located at thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box.