Rendell criticizes campaign ad in 26th Senatorial District race

Former Gov. Ed Rendell jumped into the fray of the 26th Senatorial District race this morning, reiterating Democratic and union criticism regarding a Tom McGarrigle campaign ad that negatively portrayed his Democratic opponent, John Kane, as a union boss.

Union leaders from the Philadelphia Building Trades Council blasted McGarrigle and Delaware County Republicans last week for airing the ad, which they called a smear campaign for portraying Kane as sympathetic to intimidation tactics.

Kane, the business manager of Plumbers Union Local 690, accepted $7,500 from Ironworkers Local 401 last year. Ten union members, including business manager Joe Doughtery, were indicted in February for allegedly using violent intimidation tactics to force construction contractors to hire union ironworkers.

McGarrigle, the Republican chairman of Delaware County Council, accepted a $500 contribution from Local 401 in 2009, but donated the money to charity after learning of the indictments.

Speaking at a press conference organized by Katie McGinty, chairwoman of Tom Wolf’s Campaign for a Fresh Start, Rendell restated the stance of the union leaders — that the donation is on behalf of the union’s entire membership, not an indicted leader.

Here is a video snippet of his remarks:

Union leaders threatened to cease funding future Delco Republican candidates, saying it was hypocritical of Republicans to accept union contributions and then attempt to tarnish Kane’s reputation as a union leader.

The McGarrigle campaign is standing behind the ad, saying last week that it is “truthful and obviously effective.” The campaign criticized Kane for failing to condemn the violent actions of indicted ironworkers.

The Delaware County Daily Times covered the union criticism and the McGarrigle campaign’s response at length last week.

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