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Three weeks can been an eternity in politics. Just take the case of Mark Alderman. The usually upbeat chairman of Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen was not in the best of spirits one early January afternoon when he was asked about the foundering presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. John Kerry — whose cause he joined two years ago. “I don’t know what happened,” Alderman said, lamenting about the Massachusetts Democrat’s meager poll numbers heading into the primary season. By Groundhog Day, though, Alderman was singing a decidedly different tune, calling Kerry “the comeback kid” thanks to a surge in Iowa followed by the now-infamous primal scream from presumed front-runner Howard Dean. Alderman met Kerry in 2002 through a mutual friend and was named national finance co-chairman after the senator announced his candidacy last year. In that capacity, Alderman was expected to raise $100,000, which he achieved through fund-raising events held last year. But the real work began in January, as Alderman traveled around the East Coast trying to connect the Kerry campaign with fund-raisers and politically active individuals. Before the New Hampshire primary, he spent several days in Manchester as a “guest of the campaign,” handling rudimentary political activities such as ringing doorbells and making phone calls. Through the entire tumultuous experience, Alderman and Manko Gold Katcher & Fox partner Joseph Manko have been Kerry’s mainstays in Pennsylvania. “When I first got involved, I was confident that things would turn out the way they did,” Alderman said. “Then there was a time [from late fall until the Iowa caucus] when it didn’t look like things were going to turn out that way. It was a mystery to me why we weren’t getting any traction. It turns out I was right in the beginning. We just got here in a completely different way. I’m just glad I stuck with him because there were a lot of people that quit.” With U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina bowing out of the race yesterday, Kerry has all but nailed down the Democratic nomination and will face President Bush in this fall’s general election. And while Kerry was busy Tuesday winning primary elections in nine of 10 states, Alderman and Manko met with Gov. Edward G. Rendell, who will join Kerry on a three-city sweep across Pennsylvania on April 16 in which they hope to raise in excess of $1 million for the campaign. That appearance will come just 11 days before the April 27 Pennsylvania primary. And with Rendell’s support comes the backing of fund-raisers like Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll partner Ken Jarin and Wolf Block partner Alan Kessler. Jarin and Kessler had been raising money for one of Kerry’s opponents, U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, but had not endorsed his candidacy. Manko became involved with the Kerry campaign two years ago and was impressed after meeting the senator at a September 2002 fund-raiser. Manko now serves on Kerry’s national fund-raising committee and on his lawyers committee, which advises on legal issues. Manko said he tapped in to his three main bases for fund-raising support: Lower Merion Township, where he is president of the Board of Supervisors, as well as the local Jewish and environmental communities. He said a major planning meeting would be held next week where several lawyers who supported other candidates during the primary season would be helping to organize the April 16 Pennsylvania event and map out other fund-raising activities. “I think we are all motivated by wanting to send President Bush back to his ranch,” Manko said. Among those expected to attend are Jarin, Kessler, Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin partner Mark Aronchick, Berger & Montague partner Daniel Berger and Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel partner Thomas Leonard. Aronchick was the Pennsylvania co-chairman for Dean, Berger helped retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, and Leonard was on the national finance committee for U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri. All of these lawyers are experienced in campaign finance and strategy and have worked on numerous campaigns together. That, combined with the fact that it was not a particularly nasty primary, makes the transition to get behind one candidate an easy proposition. “We’ve all worked together in the past with Gov. Rendell and on other campaigns, and we’ll do it again in the future,” Aronchick said. “I had a good meeting with Sen. Kerry’s brother, Cam, last week and I’m ready to help. I think a lot of the things Howard Dean stood for, John Kerry has campaigned for. So I think this is going to be an easy transition.” Leonard held a fund-raiser for Gephardt in early January and decided to take a cue from the candidate, who endorsed Kerry shortly after bowing out of the campaign after finishing a disappointing fourth in Iowa. Leonard said that he would help the Kerry campaign with fund-raising. Eisenberg Rothweiler Schleifer Weinstein & Winkler partner Kenneth Rothweiler has a different perspective. One of the primary national fund-raisers for Edwards, he has been on the campaign trail for the past two months. Unlike lawyers like Leonard and Aronchick, Rothweiler has not been intimately involved in many political campaigns. A former head of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association, Rothweiler said he was first intrigued by Edwards’ background as one of North Carolina’s top trial lawyers. “But I eventually thought he was one of the most impressive people I’ve ever met,” said a weary Rothweiler, who returned yesterday from several days of campaigning in New York and Georgia. “So I’m going to take my cue from Sen. Edwards about how to proceed from here. I’d follow that guy anywhere. I just hope Kerry makes the right decision and puts him on the ticket [for vice president].” Leonard said that Gephardt also would make a good vice president but that that decision would be up to Kerry. Alderman said he is glad to have so many familiar and experienced faces on board with the Kerry campaign. He said raising money is now an easy proposition compared with three months ago. “When I started this, anyone I’d talk to about raising money would talk to me but not make any commitment,” Alderman said. “Then we went through that lonely time where people wouldn’t even want to discuss it. Then after Iowa, everyone wanted to talk. And then after New Hampshire, everyone committed, and Joe and I have been signing people up ever since.”

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