Joe Sestak Mounts Senate Challenge To Arlen Specter

Joe Sestak Mounts Senate Challenge To Arlen Specter


I suppose it’s never too early to start talking about races in 2010, and this race presents many Dems with a problem. Support the moderate (yet aging) Specter because he switched parties, or back a young up and comer?

Regardless, it’s becoming obvious that Sestak will run in the Democratic primary…

Sestak has interviewed a number of people who would work for his statewide communications operation and online outreach effort, and has talked to candidates for his field operation, the Democrat says.

Meanwhile, three chief media consultants on Sestak’s 2006 and 2008 House races — J.J. Balaban, Doc Sweitzer, and Neil Oxman of the Philadelphia-based firm The Campaign Group — have signaled to Sestak that they’ll work for him if and when he enters the Senate primary.

“My colleagues and I were very pleased to help Joe defeat a longtime Republican in 2006, and we’d be happy to do so again in 2010,” Balaban told me, in a puckish reference to Specter.

Now, here’s the thing…Sestak could actually take this one because he’s not just a random politico. He’s actually a former Navy Vice Admiral and so his national security cred is literally second to none.

Regardless, he still has a significant hurdle to overcome because of Specter’s reputation and tenure. But if he can begin to peel away just a few endorsements, the mood could shift.

More as it develops…

  • kranky kritter

    And then there’s the question of whether Specter, should he lose, would go Joe Lieberman. IOW, lose the dem primary and then run as an independent with substantial support from the public middle(if he really has it).

    As a centrist with a taste for iconclasm and very little love for partisans of either stripe, I find this appealing. What if the future brought us a constant independent caucus of 2, 3, 5, 10 older name-brand politicians who got elected without wasting time and money on a primary, by spending the entire time appealing to the middle.

    This is something that is VERY difficult to do if you are an unknown. But Lieberman proved that a name brand can do it.
    The more I think about moderates who were party pariahs “graduating” to a status where they don’t answer to them but are elected because the moderates of their state like them, the more I like this idea.

    Jumping ahead, obviously the party apparatchicks will do their best to punish such folks when it comes to committees and so on. But if graduates attained a certain critical mass, the clout they’d carry on close issues could force some useful overhauls.

    BTW, look for dem party members to call on Specter to promise that he’ll “abide” by the primary results and not run as an independent should he lose in the primary. Specter should anticipate this and have a good answer ready. If he’s eager to be an obedient poof, hell make the promise, If he’s smart, he’ll use such calls as an opportunity to begin burnishing his “I represent every person in this state” credentials.

    IOW, his answer should be “NO, I cannot make that promise. If I am convinced the dem nominee would be bad for Pennsylvania, my conscience might force me to oppose him. {He could even follow this up with something like “Joe Sestak is fine man and he has given me no reason to think that blahblah blah, but I reserve the right to yada-yada-yada.”]

    Always make them kick you out the FRONT door.

  • Brad

    Pennsylvania has a sore loser law, so if Specter loses his primary, he can’t run this cycle, period.

    On Sestak, I’ll pimp again my older post giving a personal perspective from one of my Crossed Pond co-bloggers who served in Sestak’s fleet. The take-away: underdog or no, don’t count this guy out.