Waiting for Sestak

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Democrats in Delaware County have good reason to be depressed. When Republicans drew up the new congressional map during redistricting, they meticulously peeled off left-leaning voters from Rep. Pat Meehan’s 7th district and replaced them with Republicans. Townships, boroughs and other municipal borders were sacrificed to make the district safe for the incumbent.

It worked. Once a slightly Dem district, it now leans Republican. As a result two recruits – Doug Pike, who ran for congress in Pa. 6 last year, and Jack Stollsteimer, the former Safe Schools Advocate in Philadelphia – decided against a bid.

Now, Democrats from Delaware County to DC are watching and waiting to see if a familiar name will enter the contest: Joe Sestak.

“Everybody’s on hold until Joe makes up his mind,” said Delco Dems Chairman David Landrau. “People are begging him to run, but Joe makes up his own mind.”

Sestak made national news in 2010 when he challenged and defeated Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary. In a Republican year, he lost to Pat Toomey by 2 points.

The current pa-7 (in green) will be far less compact after redistricting (new borders in blue).

The clock is ticking. Candidates must begin circulating nominating petitions on January 24th, and they 1,000+ signatures required for congressional hopefls are due three weeks later. In the mean time, it’s difficult for any candidate to rally support – and raise money – while most major political figures and donors stay on the fence.State Rep. Greg Vitali, who himself has been mentioned as a possible candidate, says he hopes Sestak will get in.

“Joe’s a known quantity. Since he’s run statewide, he’s got better name recognition than Meehan in the new parts of the district.”

Asked if he is considering a bid, Vitali reiterated his support for a hypothetical Sestak candidacy.

“I think that he would be the best candidate. People are waiting for him,” Vitali said. “I’m going to wait for the Congressman to make a decision. I’m very happy with my current job.”

Another candidate, named by several Democratic insiders, is Arlin Green. According to his bio from Main Line Health:

Arlin Green, of Haverford

Arlin S. Green os a founding partner of Centura Capital, manager of commercial real estate private equity funds. Prior to Centura, he was the Managing Partner of Argosy Real Estate and before that the Chief Operating Officer of Firstrust Bank. He served as a trustee at the Philadelphia Zoo for 10 years. A graduate of Harvard College, Green went on to earn his J.D. from Boston University School of Law and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Arlin and his wife, Paula, reside in Haverford, Pa.

Green did not return a request for comment.

“I’ve met with him, he’s a good guy,” said Landau of Green. “He would run a strong campaign.”

At state committee Saturday morning, Sestak reiterated his position that he had not made a decision about his next political step.

“I’m still deciding,” he said. “Whatever I do I will do in the best interest of Pennsylvania.”

But he said his hesitance shouldn’t deter other candidates.

“I tell all these guys: run, get in. I might get in later, but if they want to run they should run.”

January 16th, 2012 | Posted in Congress, Front Page Stories, Redistricting Watch, Top Stories | 11 Comments

11 thoughts on “Waiting for Sestak”

  1. Tony in Delco says:

    Brett, that’s a surprising fact I must have missed. All this crazy map making and PA-7 is just R+1?????

  2. TR Sterling says:

    It’s pretty obvious that Sestak took Clinton’s money and prestige to pole vault to a win in 2006. In 2008 he was still a useful soldier for Hillary’s presidental run. Now, they don’t need a loser for PA senate to carry water for them.

    In 2010 a moderate, well liked US District Attorney, who prosecuted a number of the white collar corrupt politicians in Phila was elected to PA07. The percentage win was the largest of any newcomer in the PA delgation.

    The former Admiral Sestak who sold our military secrets to China, whose promotion in the Navy was recinded at the end of his career, has run out his string of ataboys from the Clintons and has little to offer the district that he used for four years to serve the leftist visions of San Fran Nan.

  3. Margaret K. Nance, M.D. says:

    “Since he’s run statewide, he’s got better name recognition than Meehan in the new parts of the district.”

    What nonsense. The areas in the new 7th — Lancaster, Berks and western Chester — voted AGAINST Sestak in 2010.

    If people in those areas recognize his name, it’s recognition that he’s the guy they voted AGAINST two years ago.

  4. David Diano says:

    Jandt- Well, Joe lives in Virginia.

  5. Jandt Cowan says:

    I hope and pray that Joe will make the decision to run for the 7th Congressional seat. He is a man who really knows what we need and I know that he will fight for the people and work to make a difference…not just in his area but throughout the country. I would support Joe wherever he lived. He is the MAN!

  6. Brett Heffner says:

    Actually, the new 7th has a PVI of R+1, which makes it a likely tossup this year for Obama. He carried it by a significant margin but GWB win it both times.

  7. David Diano says:

    Daisy-
    With the redistricting, the 7th would no longer be a district the president could win.

    The “new management” of the Delco Dems could not find their asses in the dark with a flashlight and a mirror.

    However, beyond that, Sestak himself bears some responsibility for the weak state of the local party. Sestak’s campaigns actively undermined the down-ticket candidates and distanced themselves from the Dems as they sought Republican swing voters. Instead, Sestak should have run as part of the ticket and encouraged the idea that if voters like him, they would like the other candidates as well.

    More importantly, Sestak built his own parallel organization that drained resources from the party or any semblance of a coordinated campaign. Once Joe’s campaign ended, the party had no means of contacting Joe’s volunteers for the off-year local elections or building the party by getting them into the committee system. If Sestak were a real team-player he would have sent emails to his volunteers asking them to help the party and local candidates in the odd-years when he wasn’t running. Instead, Sestak hoarded his lists (despite being seeded with such lists when he first arrived on the scene).

    Unfortunately, most Delco Dems are so happy that Joe defeated Weldon, that they are blinded to all the ways Joe has screwed them since.

  8. Daisy Dem says:

    No wonder Joe hasn’t made up his mind… The Delco Democrat party is a disaster! There is no way you can win the new 7th without Delco. Delco still has over 50% of the voters in the 7th and has no one working at their offices! As a committee person, I called the office to find out information about the State Committee meeting last weekend and to find out who I can circulate petitions for (considering circulation begins next week) and NO ONE WORKS THERE! 4 calls during regular business hours unanswered. Unacceptable for a party who has a chance to win a Congressional seat back during a Presidential Election Year in a District the President won! Joe – if you decide to run good luck – I will be happy to help you build your own organization because the current one won’t be any help….

  9. David Diano says:

    As for the folks waiting for Joe “out of respect”…

    1) If it is “respect”, then they are clueless that Joe has no respect for them.

    2) In actuality, it’s not “respect” but the simple fear that if they enter the race, they would get pushed out and have wasted their time if Joe jumps in.

    3) Sestak has ALREADY MADE HIS DECISION. He plans stuff months and years in advance. Whether he runs or not, does not change the fact that he made the decision long ago and is generating fake suspense and milking it. When Sestak suggests he “might get in” with there being less than a week until petition, he shows what a complete ***hole he truly is.

    This is essentially similar to the way Sarah Palin kept speculation going about a possible run for the White House, just to keep up interest for her books and elevate her speaking fees. Sestak keeps getting invited to events on the assumption he might be a candidate in the near future.

    If Landau, or any of the other Delco Dems had any balls, they would have gotten a candidate, officially endorsed him, and told Joe to “shove off” for screwing everyone over by playing games. Unfortunately, the Delco Dems are currently run by ball-less wonders who should have put up a candidate months ago.

    As for Greg Vitali.. He’s my State Rep. I like him. My candid (and unsolicited) advice to him was: “If you want to be a Congressman, file your papers and don’t wait for permissions or decisions from someone else. Joe wouldn’t wait for you, so don’t wait for him.” Unfortunately, if he did run, he’d get a backlash from Joe’s cult of followers thinking Greg had disrespected Joe, instead of them realizing it was the other way around.

    Given the new redistricting, I would not fault Vitali for choosing not to run, even if Sestak gave the “all clear” sign. The new 7th is such a disgrace that Greg would be passing up a near certain St. Rep reelection for a difficult, longshot congressional race.

    As for Arlin Green, I don’t know him, but I find his brief resume summary to be impressive.

  10. Bill Healy says:

    When Joe says don’t hesitate to get in, take it as a No.

  11. flynnbw says:

    Note to Admiral Sestak: these folks are waiting on you out of respect! You know how much it takes to start up a Congressional campaign (especially at this point on the calendar) and every day it gets harder. Please, please, please figure out your intentions soon!
    PS: it was nice to see you at State Committee. I wish I had had the chance to tell you this in person.

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