PA-Sen: Former Rep. Chris Carney Considers 2016 Senate Bid

chris-carneyThere might just be a race after all.

Democratic 2010 Senate nominee, Joe Sestak, has been preparing for another challenge against Sen. Pat Toomey since 2013. But he may have to defeat former Rep. Chris Carney in a party primary before he’ll have a shot.

Carney is “weighing” a Senate campaign and will decide “fairly soon” whether he wants to pursue one.

“I have been encouraged by many folks who have approached me about running, and I’ve had many conversations with people from across the commonwealth,” Carney told National Journal, adding that he would think about “what’s best for my family and the people of Pennsylvania.”

Though Democratic operatives have been searching for an alternative to Sestak, Carney was not high on their list. The former Congressman was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a caucus identifying as moderate and conservative that holds views unpopular with the liberal Democratic electorate, including opposing abortion rights.

Sestak, however, has a strained relationship with some party leaders, which could give Carney the chance to earn key endorsements over Sestak.

But a Democratic primary battle has the potential to weaken whichever candidate comes out on top. The party will be keen to wage a strong campaign against Toomey, a strong fiscal conservative representing the blue Keystone State, whose re-election has already been dubbed a “toss-up” and a “race to watch.”

Carney’s interest in the Senate seat is a surprise to many Democratic operatives who thought Sestak might run unopposed. Most other potential candidates — outgoing state Treasurer Rob McCord, former Rep. Allyson Schwartz, Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Rep. Matt Cartwright — declined to run.

Another potential candidate, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, is rumored to have lost interest in a campaign.

January 19th, 2015 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Senate, Top Stories | 15 Comments

15 thoughts on “PA-Sen: Former Rep. Chris Carney Considers 2016 Senate Bid”

  1. tenth district dude says:

    I have just really got to respond to this. First and foremost, Chris was my congressman and I love than man. And if he ends up as our senate nominee, I’ll be just as enthusiastic about him as I am Sestak. But I want people to remember this when they talk about how awesome it was he got elected in such a “red district”: Yes, my district is undeniably red…but lets jump back to Carney’s first election against Don Sherwood (what? 2006?). At that point, Sherwood was in the midst of a scandal involving his “girlfriend” after having possibly choked her. The damage was already done…then comes Chris Carney, a Democrat, a moderate, and a virtual political outsider. What could be more appealing, right?! When it was all said and done, Chris Carney won the election at a time (remember, this was pre-Obama) when the country was so thirsty for change that voters were willing to buck their own trends, and they did.

    Chris Carney is a prime case of “right man, right place, right time”. That same concept would not apply to a Senate race where his name recognition is probably well under 40%. Just my two cents.

  2. Fact Check says:

    Um, it’s not even remotely true that the Blue Dogs are anti-choice. Their three leaders — Kurt Schrader, Jim Cooper, and Jim Costa — all have strong pro-choice records.

    I won’t take the time to look up all of the BlueDogs …

    … but I can confirm that every single female Blue Dog was endorsed by Emily’s List:

  3. bob G says:

    Yea, they both are DINOs, Fred Flinstone’s dog….

  4. Montco PA Dem says:

    And then will you just as strongly support Sestak when he wins the primary over your candidate? Because we ended up with Toomey as Senator the last time this stuff went down and the party bosses threw a hissy fit when voters sent their candidate packing in the primary.

  5. Hal Donahue says:

    I strongly hope Carney runs. He is steady and knows Pennsylvania in a way few others do. If he runs I will strongly support him

  6. Pmaddie says:

    Carney was elected and re-elected in one of the most red districts in the state. Phil, think anyone else could have accomplished that? You may want to call him a DINO and stick to you ideological guns, but in the end it was his vote that ultimately passed ACH, and he paid a price for it. We need more courageous leaders, not more puppets.

  7. Lib Alert says:

    Toomey Yes!

  8. David Diano says:


    Sestak is a DINO too.

  9. Montco PA Dem says:

    Looks like they buried the lede. Josh Shapiro not running is the real news. Carney maybe-running just makes this a pale imitation of 2010’s Sestak-Specter race, with Carney playing the role of out-of-touch leadership poster boy.

  10. Phil Perspective says:

    PA Voters Rise:
    What kind of choice is Sestak vs. Carney? Sestak is okay but not great. Carney is a DINO.

  11. Lisa Carney says:

    Congressman Carney will make a great candidate!!!!!!!!

  12. Observer says:

    How can the Blue Dog Coalition be described as both “moderate and conservative”? These labels have contradictory meanings when used as broad adjectives.

  13. So PGH Voter says:

    War veteran that voted for the ACA in the face of a huge opposition…Dems could do a lot worse.

  14. PA Voters Rise says:

    This is exciting news!! Pennsylvania Democrats deserve a choice in the 2016 US Senate Primary!!

    Like us at

  15. Zombie James Buchanan says:

    The way the Democrats are going through candidates, it’s only a matter of time until they get to me.

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