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November 16, 2015

Fattah pegs former Rendell operative to head reelection campaign

Congressman faces federal charges and primary challengers

With legal troubles swirling around his family and Democratic candidates lining up to challenge him, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah has chosen a seasoned Philadelphia political operative to head his reelection effort.

In a news release, Fattah announced that Joe Certaine, who served under previous mayors Wilson Goode and Ed Rendell, would be in charge of his campaign.

“Joe has three qualities that make him uniquely qualified to lead my campaign; he has proven managerial capabilities, he has unmatched knowledge of every neighborhood and every neighborhood leader in my district and he has unparallel political expertise," Fattah stated in the release.

Certaine had previously worked as emergency operations center under Goode's administration in the late 1980s and early 90s and as managing director under Mayor Rendell in the 1990s.

He was also asked as director of Rendell's Southeastern office in his succesfull 2000 campaign for governor.

Fattah will be looking to Certaine to help ensure he remains in the congressional seat he's held since 1995 representing Pennsylvania's 2nd district, which covers a large parts of West Philly, Northwest Philly, North Philly west of Broad Street and some parts of Montgomery County.

Earlier this year, he was hit with a 29-count racketeering indictment along with four other associates, with the charges alleging everything from misappropriating campaign funds to trading political favors in order to pay off debts. He has claimed innocence since being charged.

Since the indictment, four local politicians have announced their intentions to challenge Fattah in the Democratic primary next spring, including State Representatives Dwight Evans and Brian Sims.

In November, his son, Chaka Fattah Jr., was found guilty on 22 counts of fraud.