Rendell on Sestak: ‘He’ll still get killed’

SEE ALSO: Sestak responds to Rendell, bets him a WaWa sandwich that he’ll beat the incumbent:

By Alex Roarty
PoliticsPA Staff Writer

Nine months of campaigning hasn’t changed Governor Ed Rendell’s mind about Joe Sestak, the congressman whom he predicted last summer would “get killed” if he faced Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

“He’ll still get killed,” the governor said while taping a podcast with reporters, whom he also spoke with afterward. (See also reports on the interview from PA Public Radio’s Scott Detrow and the Morning Call’s John Micek.)

Sestak last year bucked party leaders, including Rendell and President Barack Obama, when he decided to challenge Specter, a Republican of 29 years before switching parties last April. His candidacy immediately attracted attention from liberal activists nationwide, and many analysts saw the congressman, a former admiral who already had $5 million on hand, a formidable foe to the longtime incumbent.

But lately his campaign has seemingly stagnated, with polls showing he hasn’t gained ground against Specter despite vigorous campaigning statewide. A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this month showed him losing to Specter 53 percent to 29 percent; the same poll released in December reported him down 53 percent to 30 percent. Another poll, conducted in February by Franklin & Marshall College, showed Specter with a 17-point lead over Sestak, although 44 percent of voters remained undecided.

Rendell, who called Sestak a “good congressman and a good man,” was blunt in handicapping his chances.

“He has, in my mind, no chance to win,” the governor said. “In the time that has elapsed, he hasn’t done anything to narrow the lead. In fact, the lead has actually increased.”

Sestak, he added, doesn’t have enough money to make a big enough “dent” in Specter’s advantage, although he conceded the congressman likely will at least close the gap in the coming weeks as he taps into a restless, angry electorate.

Sestak’s campaign has actually pointed to its fundraising as one of the biggest reasons it can defeat Specter, with the congressman saying he already has more money than any of the Senator’s past challengers. Its strategy seems predicated on an aggressive media blitz in the campaign’s final weeks designed to remind voters of Specter’s past alliance with, among others, President Bush and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.

Specter’s success, Rendell said, can be tied with close relationships he’s maintained while in office with an array of Democratic officials, from local chairman to county commissioners.

“Arlen did it for 30 years,” he said. “There’s no way Joe can make up for that in a campaign. He’s out there making promises against someone who delivered.”

He added that although Sestak was a southeast congressman, that didn’t mean voters in the region, outside of his congressional district, knew who he was because U.S. representatives aren’t regular presences in the local media.

March 16th, 2010 | Posted in Front Page Stories | 7 Comments

7 thoughts on “Rendell on Sestak: ‘He’ll still get killed’”

  1. Bruce Bailey says:

    Wow, it’s deja vu all over again in the 12th. First Tim Burns tries to revive the “guns & bibles” outrage, now Ann Augustine is trying to get Hillary nominated again. Anybody detect a pattern here? Or is the 12th just the kind of place that likes to live in the past?

  2. Ann R Augustine says:

    Democrats have been contributing to Specter’s wins for thirty years because he represents them with courage and sense. Sestak is a great guy but is willing to toss his seat in Congress to anybody who wants it. Arlen Specter is a national treasure – one of the few remaining grown-ups in the Senate, and to the Women of the Democratic Party, who have always voted for him, Arlen didn’t join the rest of the Senate Dems in touting Obama at the expense of their dues-paid, obviously competent Hillary Clinton. Touting an unproven freshman for his LEADERSHIP, at the expense of a Woman of Substance, the entire Democratic Delegation of the Senate followed the lead of the Creep of the Century, John Edwards. Obama hasn’t delivered spit. Women of the Party represent the majority AND the base,heard they had “nowhere else to go” once they conducted their dishonorable, dishonest raid of Super Delegates to the Convention. We maybe ATE IT, but we’re STILL not Over It. Specter had no part in that brazen defiance of the Democratic Party’s rules of Gender Equity, nor has he played the corrupt game with the men of the party in stiffing Barbara Hafer or the female Judicial Candidates last November. Count on it, hot shot know-it-alls: the Women who can be relied upon to turn out and vote will vote for Senator Specter. The rest of you guys can only hope to ride his coat-tails as far as the womens’ vote is concerned.

  3. Bruce Bailey says:

    Specter must have some internal polling that shows just how weak he is in this primary if he’s calling in Rendell already.

    This race has not even started yet. Once we get to mid-April, your lawn won’t be the only thing with hyperactive grassroots.

    The message after the May primary: don’t EVER excpect to win a contested Democratic primary from the top down.

Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *