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PHILADELPHIA — Former Gov. Ed Rendell is chairing Katie McGinty's campaign for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey next year.

Rendell says in an emailed release Monday that he encouraged McGinty "to run because she's a problem solver who knows how to get things done."

McGinty was secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection in Rendell's administration.

She was also Gov. Tom Wolfe's top aide before resigning to run against Joe Sestak, a former Navy vice admiral and congressman who narrowly lost to Toomey in 2010.

State Republican spokeswoman Megan Sweeney says Rendell's role in McGinty's campaign "only serves as further proof that establishment Democrats are ready to do whatever it takes to defeat Joe Sestak."

Sestak says if Democrats "want an establishment candidate, I'm not their guy."

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