Joe Sestak Gets A Big Endorsement

Joe Sestak Gets A Big Endorsement


Kind of:

U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, trying to knock off a veteran Democratic incumbent senator in the primary, will get an endorsement Monday from somebody who succeeded in doing just that: Connecticut’s Ned Lamont.

Lamont defeated Sen. Joseph Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primary, largely by running against the Iraq war and Lieberman’s support of the Bush administration’s war policy. But Lamont did not win the general election. After losing the nomination, Lieberman ran as an independent in the fall, defeating Lamont and the Republican nominee.

Sources close to the Sestak campaign confirmed that Lamont is the “mystery endorser” it announced would be coming to Independence Hall Monday.

The strange thing here is that there are some eerie parallels to the Ned Lamont versus Joe Lieberman versus Republican Dude** campaign that was waged in 2006.

B-Diddy [a conservative contributor at my site] and I have talked about this before (because we are both from Pennsylvania). Take a walk down Hypothetical Lane with me here, won’t you?

What happens if (when?) Arlen Specter gets beaten by Joe Sestak in the Pennsylvania Democratic Senatorial primary election? The answer is simple, or at least obvious: Specter switches his party affiliation (again) to Independent — a la Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Senatorial election in 2006.

After Senator Specter puts an ‘I’ after his name for the general election, we’ll have a three-way-race between Sestak (the Democrat), Pat Toomey (the Republican) and good ole Arlen, fresh off of the Independent Express.

The question then becomes more complex; will Specter be able to defeat a Democrat who vanquished him in the primary as well as a Republican challenger? Things will indeed get interesting if it comes to this.

If all of the above indeed comes to fruition, Specter will have a rough time defending his multiple party-switcharoos. He started as a Democrat, switched to a Republican in 1965 when he ran for District Attorney in Philadelphia. In April of this year Specter returned to the Democratic party saying that he found himself “increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy”. If he were to change (yet again) to Independent, he will be all-but-writing the attack ads for his political opponents.

Or, as I have suggested before, if Senator Specter loses the primary next spring, perhaps it is simply time for him to hang up his proverbial spurs. Personally, I don’t mind Specter (except for all of the party-swapping). He is a moderate Republican Democrat, and I usually find myself gravitating toward politicians that sit somewhere in the middle of the road. However, Specter has indeed had a looooong career in Pennsylvania politics. Maybe we need some fresh blood in there to replace him…

** does anyone remember the Republican candidate’s name from that election? Yeah, I had to Google it — the guy’s name is Alan Schlesinger.

  • Silent Cal

    I think Pennsylvania has a “sore loser” law that prevents running as an independent after you fail to win a party’s nomination.

  • Justin Gilmore

    Correct, that is one thing that motivated Specter to switch parties, otherwise it would be easier for him to declare himself as a independent and simply caucus with the democrats in the interest of bipartisanship. It would have been a much easier sell then the current situation.

  • Agnostick
  • The Pajama Pundit

    Silent Cal and Agnostick – thanks for the info! I was completely unaware of that law/registration deadline policy. Good to know.

  • kranky kritter

    The general rule is that you get one switch, because that can be a genuine change of heart. After that, you’re seen as an opportunist.

    Lieberman won in CN because he was really preferred by his constituents. He had a lot of good will in the local bank. Lamont managed to make the dem primary a referendum on the Iraq war at the height of anti-war sentiment. But he lacked broad appeal.

    I do not get the sense that Arlen Specter has anywhere near the same measure of local support and good will across the spectrum that Lieberman did. But 3-horse races are tricky.

  • Loviatar


    Please stop with the revisionism; as a former CN resident, Liberman was not “preferred by his constituents”, he was and is as much an opportunist as Specter.

    The reason he won (and probaly the sole reason) he won, was because of the faux Republican in the race. Liberman was and is disliked by many within the CN Democratic party, his views are at odds with many within the party, however he was seen as the best to be to had at the time. The war and his views and votes was the final straw which drove him out of the party.

    He is also not “perferred” by CN Republicans, however they also see him as the best to be had at the time and their vote for him at the time had the added benefit of putting a thumb in the eye of democrats.

    ~ L

  • kranky kritter

    Loviatar, IMO the person who gets the most votes is demonstrably preferred by that state’s constituents according to the best and indeed only relevant available test. You wanna use some other test, feel free. I prefer to use the one that counts. FWIW, please take note that I believe that the word “prefer” can only meaningfully refer to which choice you like best from among the available ones. I doubt that anyone can really prefer something that isn’t an available option.

    You’re 100% correct that many among CN democrats grew to dislike Lieberman for his hawkish views on Iraq, in marked contrast to his prior lionization when he was the VP candidate just a few years before that. You’re also 100% right that many Republicans don’t like him either.

    But very many moderates and independents admired Lieberman for his willingness to remain consistent with his long-standing foreign policy views even though they had grown to be quite at odds with what had become fashionable among democrats.

    “Constituents” refers to all of the people of the state as a whole. This group re-elected Lieberman, Thus they prefer him. It’s a truism. IMO, this preference is due in large part to how seriously Lieberman treats his job of looking out for the whole state and acting in accord with his conscience.

    If Lieberman had changed his longheld views to better match democratic fashion, THAT would have been opportunism.