PA-Sen: Dems Nervous, but Confident in McGinty

McGinty-sadAs the candidates prepare themselves for tonight’s U.S. Senate candidates’ forum in Hershey, many are looking for Katie McGinty to assert herself in the race.

McGinty is running second to Joe Sestak in almost every poll – despite the inside-track she has been given by the Democratic Party’s national leadership – and some state Democrats are beginning to worry, Jonathan Tamari of the Inquirer reports.

While most of the party operatives and officials interviewed lauded McGinty’s resume and intelligence, they also raised warning signs about her “flat” campaign and “generic” message, Tamari reports.

“People were expecting Katie to have a bigger impact than she has so far,” David Dunphy, a Democratic consultant based in Philadelphia, said.

They are also worried about the returns on her campaign’s spending. McGinty’s poll numbers have barely budged since she entered the race in August, though she is vastly out-raising and outspending her opponents.

Former U.S. Congressman Sestak picked up 21% in the latest F&M Poll, while McGinty managed 12%. Braddock Mayor John Fetterman was not far behind at 8%.

Many Democrats are backing McGinty to win the bulk of the 60% of the vote that is still out there, with the former Chief of Staff to Gov. Tom Wolf well ahead in the endorsement race.

In most years, McGinty would be a lock for the nomination, with endorsements from EMILY’s List, the AFSCME, United Steelworkers, PASNAP (who originally backed Sestak), and 30 local Democratic chairs, as well as Gov. Wolf – while former Gov. Ed Rendell is the chairman of her campaign.

In the year of Donald Trump and the “outsider,” however, her insider status could be a cause for concern – though Sabato’s Crystal Ball predicts Democrats will win back the Senate, including PA, with Trump’s name at the top of the ticket.

Katie McGinty, Joe Sestak and John Fetterman will face off at the PA Dems 2016 State Committee Winter Meeting in Hershey tonight.

36 Responses

  1. I think it’s pretty shitty of Dave Diano to be denying his daughter. My guess is that he’ll be spending the rest of this election cycle fending off that paternity suit.

  2. french montana -the 12,000 signatures on petitions demonstrates that sestak has the support of the people who DO the work around here. The precinct Committee people, who work their butts off to get voters out to vote, and support their choice of candidate in the primary. Allegheny and Philly County party chairs made a deal to support Katie for Senate and Zappala for AG. This is why people hate politics as usual. When the two largest voting blocks force their membership to go along to get along, that is a big part of the problem Katie has no grassroots support and the party elites know it. Sestak should win, just for all the work he has put in over these last 7 years. What candidate do you know does a THANK YOU tour after they loose?? He may not be the best speaker, but in this environment of anti-establishment candidates, I think he is well positioned to win the Primary. Then it will be interesting to see if the Party gets behind him in the General or allows Toomey to win again, on their lack of support. Grass roots will win in the Primary but Sestak will need the support of the donors to beat the R money.

  3. We The rank-and-file-dem People are tired of being spoon fed ineffectual candidates.

    That is why McGinty couldn’t take Dauphin County or PA State Dem endorsements.

    This is why Sestak is the better choice…spoiler alert: it is the same reason TheBern is better than the other anointed one:

    Why This Bernie Sanders Delegate Candidate Endorses Admiral Joe Sestak as PA’s Next US Senator

  4. David:
    This is where I agree with you. Sestak should not have voted to fund Iraq in 2007 nor should he support militarism and the military/industrial complex carte blanche. He is also not that progressive and simply does not understand Medicare for All (single payer)–of course, McGinty opposes SP due to her corporate health care connections and Fetterman is simply uninformed or ignorant of the Medicare program—which can start at any age—not just age 65!!! Fetterman is an ACA advocate—AND NOT A TRUE BERNIE GUY—HE’S JUST TRYING TO RIDE Sanders’ COATTAILS AND SUCK IN GULLIBLE BERNIE FOLKS—–SO, BERNIE FOLKS, STOP BEING FOOLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I support Sestak more out of his hard work, which I admire, and, also because the take-over artists at the State Democratic Committee support their chosen one—puppet McGinty—We need to teach Marcel/Wolf/Rendell/corporations/ a lesson from the people and from the bottom up——stop the corporate takeover of the Dem Party. The Republicans are where you DEM corporatists belong. Let us alone.

  5. McGinty’s revolving door to $$$-

    1) I’ve often objected to too much overkill on signatures as wasted effort once you have a enough (and a good margin)

    2) Sestak’s strategy has long been to burn resources to create the appearance of overwhelming force to intimidate his adversaries. Typical of his military mindset and slave driving his staff.

    3) I don’t have a daughter. Observer made that up, and then “Chris” repeated it. Don’t be an idiot and continue to repeat it, when it’s clearly false.

    4) My attacks on Sestak began when he voted to fund the Iraq War in May 2007, in opposition to his campaign promises to oppose the war, and use his former military rank to be a leader on the issue. When he voted with Bush, I realized that we’d all been duped by his lies and betrayed. Sestak has always supported the Iraq War and any statements he’s made to the contrary have been purely for political gain to hide his real leanings. His voting record (and military record) doesn’t match his claims of opposition.

  6. Dem and Diano:

    In the language of one of the most intelligent humans ever– Bertrand Russell–you 2 responders are–“special pleaders” meaning you have a weak argument. Let us apply the same standard as David proposes- all candidates need to be subjected to the same standard–that being said, Sestaks’s 12,000 signatures kicks ass. And it represents grass roots support and a hard work ethic. David—I agree with you on a whole lot of issues you raise and would be in your “camp” on a lot of things but I do believe you are erratically irrational on Sestak, and now it appears your daughter worked for Sestak and feels offended for some reason by her employer—Guess what—all of us have had problems. You seem to be going overboard on this singular problem.

  7. If you only need 2000 signatures, wouldn’t going through effort of collecting 6 times what is needed be a huge waste of resources? I understand getting enough that there is no question, but 6x seems a bit excessive. Between this and the statewide walk, I get the sense their whole operation is a bit goofy. Of course, I know David’s feelings on this….

  8. McGinty’s revolving door to $$$

    12,000, but how many were any good? They could be half republican and not worth challenging. Quantity doesn’t always equal quality.

  9. Ground game to Sestak: He got 12,000 signatures on petitions. McGinty 1/2 that. And, Sestak does it all without union bosses and party apparachuks. Sestak’s work ethic is something MG knows nothing about. She makes a few lame appearances and wants to be annointed. Sestak is the ONLY one who can beat Toomey. BTW, a lot of union rank and file are for Sestak. They do not appreciate being told who to vote for!!!!

  10. Since she won the most votes at state committee, a group that should have been all Sestak after 7 years of campaigning, I think things are looking pretty good. So much for her lack of support among the “rank and file”.

  11. Pthome, Katie M. is superb nominee who learned a lot from her run for governor two years ago. She will kick Toomey’s caveman philosophy butt in November as long as Democrat voters give her the chance to do it.

  12. David, why you keep deny have daughter on the campaign? Stop telling fibs. Okay to be honest. It’s the best policy.

  13. David D, why are you deny you have daughter working on the campaign? Stop telling fibs.

  14. FrenchMontana??
    We need to defeat McGinty she represents
    The very worst in the Democratic Party!
    It’s not her gender- it’s her lack of competence and integrity!
    It’s not McGinty’s accent?(I didn’t notice one)- it’s her failure to speak honestly about issues!
    Sestak has credentials she cannot match and
    Her husband, the democratic establishment,and the fracking interests can’t
    Deceive the public . McGinty has been, is – and will continue to be a political loser.
    She is a good person and I’m sure a great family person- but she is not qualified for the Senate or most other elective offices!

  15. Observer –

    What the f*ck are you talking about? Daughter? I don’t have a daughter, let alone any child, sibling or relative who worked on Joe’s campaign. But, thanks for showing how far the Sestak people will go making stuff up.

    Look up Joseph Sestak Alexandria Virginia on Google
    The first hit is to

    Site shows his home address, and his wife’s name as well. How hard was that to prove where he lives with his wife (just like Santorum did when he pretended to live in PA)?

    Once the TV ads start, then we’ll see how the needle moves.

    Pittsburgher –

    Joe is a few sandwiches short of a picnic. He’s a closet Republican who loves war and can’t be trusted.


    I’m not saying that Katie is the ideal dem, but she can be trusted to vote with the Democratic majority on issue after issue. She’s not going to vote with the R’s against the Dem majority, like Sestak did. Voting for Fetterman would send the same message, and you’d have a real progressive.

    Jim Jones-

    If (when) Sestak loses, we should have a pool as to how soon it will be before he puts his PA house up for sale.


    I was a long time advocate for Josh Shapiro running for this US Senate seat, and I agree he isn’t qualified for AG. (exec director or chief of staff to the AG, yes).

    He’s really going to kick himself if he loses the AG race and McGinty or Fetterman beats Sestak, when it could have been him in November against Toomey.

  16. I am not happy with any of the three but I am willing to take my chances with Fetterman. It seems like Shapiro should be running in this race and not the AG race which he isn’t qualified for. Sestak comes across as odd and McGinty was in the pocket of the polluters at DEP. Fetterman and Zappala for Senate and AG.

  17. McGinty is a hypocritical phony being foisted upon us by Ed Rendell.

    Sestak doesn’t honestly live in PA.

    Fetterman is a genuine public servant and the only candidate who has devoted his life to doing what all the candidates say we should be doing.

    If McGinty loses, she’ll go back to peddling influence for the gas companies and take more $1,000,000 payouts.

    If Sestak loses, he’ll sell the house in PA and return to his family already living in Virginia.

    If Fetterman loses, he’ll keep being the same public servant he’s been for the last 15 years.

    That should tell you who to vote for.

  18. I love that people call the most qualified candidate in terms of education and resume a “lightweight” and say she has no substance. She has spent a career working deep in substance and only became a politician in the last 2 years. All I glean from that is that her opponents are sexists who hear a woman with a slight accent from the neighborhood she grew up and assume she is a Sarah Palin gasbag. Take a step back and remember that as Democrats we should be proud of women and their accomplishments.

  19. I watched most oftheir debate in front of the PA Progressive Summit.

    McGinty delivers with personality but has nothing to say; she seems to focus on criticizing Toomey, but that doesn’t tell the voters anything or differentiate her from her competitors.

    Sestak has plenty to say but his delivery is a little bizarre. It’s always the same no matter the topic, and it comes off like a fire-and-brimstone preacher on depressants; it seems unnatural. I wonder if it work well enough in the general election.

    Fetterman too often sounds like an Internet ranter, and seems to give little attention to how his ideas might be implemented in the U.S. Senate. I also disliked his argument that prospective Supreme Court Justices should be asked specific policy questions and confirmed/refused based on their answers.

    Most dissapointingly, none talked about what they will do about the gridlock, which if unaddressed will render all their ideas meaningless.

  20. Ok- let’s allow David to vent-
    Take a deep breath- and then look at the real world. First , McGinty stinks! She had NO qualification for the Senate, is a phony of the worst kind and was, is and will be a perpetual loser because people see through her veneer.
    Sestak isn’t perfect but he is the anti- McGinty!
    Voting for Sestak is a message to Brady and Rendell to take a leap. Finally, sestak might
    Beat Toomey- McGinty is an al gore clone- folks will always go with any alternative to weak candidates who lack integrity and class. If Sestak lived in LA – he’d still be a heck of a lot better than lightweight Katie

  21. I’ll take Admiral Sestak or Fetterman. I’ll take Zappala or Morganelli. I think we all know what to expect with Wolfpack Rendell hacks. Let’s evolve already Geez

  22. Hopefully McGinty or Fetterman can pull it together because Sestak would be the worst Senator this state has ever seen.

  23. 56% undecided in that poll, Tommy. And nobody is on the air yet. Don’t forget McGinty has every Democratic interest endorsement under the sun. That’s a lot of soldiers and outside money bound to come in late.

  24. Don’t listen to Diano on ANYTHING he says about Sestak. He is still pissed that Sestak wouldn’t pay his daughter – a VOLUNTEER for the campaign – way back in the dark ages. Diano thinks he is some big whup that should have been listened to. He wasn’t then, and he is less so now. McGinty is a Shill for the Frackers, always has been. Sestak is well-known, but not a great speaker. Fetterman would be the right guy, if Bernie was at the top of the ticket, bringing out a lot of new and disaffected voters.

  25. The engaged rank and file, in the F&M poll, is backing Sestak while the party elites are backing McGinty, while Fetterman, who few have ever heard of is closing in on McGinty. Who is out of touch here?

  26. Ugh, one candidate who typically is a tough campaigner doesnt even live here, the other is a mouthpiece for the party and doesnt stand for anything, and another candidate is the real deal, but is polling at 8 percent. Defeating Toomey should be a slam dunk, but only the Democrats could screw this up.

  27. Chris-

    Sestak lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife and daughter. The Sestaks bought the house in 1998 and it’s worth about twice his PA property. Sestak even got a permit from the City of Alexandria in Oct 2010 to build an extension on his Virginia home. (I assume in anticipation of needing a home office if he won for Senate.)

    Joe’s wife isn’t registered in PA (she registered briefly in 2006 at some rental apartment for Joe’s first race, then dropped her registration in 2007 once Joe took office and purchased a house in Edgmont PA).

    This is exactly what Santorum did. Lived with wife and children in Virginia, while maintaining a property in PA and falsely claiming it as his primary residence.

    Joe is a carpetbagging fraud. He’s a “tourist” in PA, not a resident.

    In the spring of 2006, he finally swapped out the Virginia plate on his car for a PA plate.

    The press should really hound him on this. It was a story when Santorum did it.

  28. Just incase you didn’t notice, the people particularly in Southeast Pa are not happy about the DNC with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the DCCC with New Mexico Rep Ben Lujan trying to pick our candidates. That is why Both Delco and Chester counties for example endorsed Joe Sestak and Mary Ellen Balchunis for Congress.

  29. The candidate forum is from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 pm.

    The dinner is from 7pm to 10pm.

    So, they’re facing off at 4:30 not 7.

    Joe isn’t a PA resident. McGinty should have challenged his filing and knocked him out of the race.

    She could have gotten Sestak under oath about his living arrangements.

    Missed opportunity.

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