NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. – Tom Ridge threw his considerable clout behind Republican Lynn Swann on Tuesday to help the former football star jump start fundraising for his gubernatorial campaign.
Ridge, the nation's first homeland security secretary and a former governor, joined Swann for meetings with prospective contributors in five Pennsylvania cities.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer faces incumbent Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, in November. If elected, Swann would become the state's first black governor.
As of May 1, Rendell had $13.6 million on hand — more than five times Swann's total.
"I do have some friends that helped me over the years raise money," Ridge said after the meeting in New Cumberland, near Harrisburg. "Sharing, and hopefully convincing, some of my friends to be as aggressive with this fund raising for him as they were for me is something I want to do."
The pair also met with small groups of potential donors in or near Philadelphia, Scranton, Pittsburgh and Erie.
Swann told The Associated Press on Friday that some of his supporters were not contributing to his campaign because people in Rendell's administration or campaign have indicated it could jeopardize their state contracts or grants. Rendell's campaign and the administration's general counsel denied the allegations.
Swann has declined to identify any of the donors or provide other details, and on Tuesday brushed off questions about his comments.
"I'm not making any kind of accusations about anything illegal or otherwise," he said.