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 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 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.”