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PA-Sen: Drama Between Sestak and National Dems Continues

Joe-Sestak-headshotIt’s very likely the worst kept secret in politics.

Joe Sestak is the front-runner for PA’s 2016 Senate Democratic nomination and party leaders in the state and D.C. desperately want to change that.

A new piece from Manu Raju and Kyle Cheney of Politico, illustrates the conflict.

Worried about lackluster fundraising and smarting from past slights, Democrats are fervently trying to convince Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro to jump into the race.

Previously, we knew that Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Jon Tester of Montana have urged Shapiro to make the run. Now, Raju and Cheney are reporting that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has called Shapiro and asked him to consider a bid.

Former Governor Ed Rendell and Congressman Bob Brady are also pushing for Shapiro.

“Josh is thinking about it,” Rendell said. “I’ve told him that Sestak will be not easy to beat — but that if he does run and wins the primary, that I think [Shapiro] would have an excellent chance with Hillary at the top of the ticket.”

Brady provides an example of Sestak antagonizing party leaders. Apparently, despite the fact that Brady pressured Sestak not to jump into the 2010 race, the latter assured the former he would give him a heads-up if he did.

The Philadelphia Congressman says he learned about Sestak’s campaign from the newspaper, though Sestak contends he did inform Brady.

“He’s kind of ruffled some feathers,” Brady stated. “People remember that.”

As for that famous walking tour and it’s effect on fundraising, the candidate contends he always knew the money would dip when he undertook the adventure.

“We knew the walk was going to take a lot of time and effort — so we set it [the campaign] up to raise [money] early,” he said.

Despite all the talk, Sestak doesn’t appear to be worried.

“Everybody who wants to get in, should get in,” Sestak asserted. “They should do it because they want to — not because the party is pushing them. Because a Washington, D.C.-selected candidate won’t do very well in Pennsylvania.”

18 Responses

  1. Fact is, as a former Democrat county chair and an active and loyal Democrat for 40 years, until 2010 I have never voted for the Democrat candidate running against Specter. When President Obama was organizing the recovery in 2009, Specter was a thorn, pushing more tax breaks than job-generating projects. For me, that was the end. The President, Gov. Rendell and AFL-CIO chief Bill George might have been for Specter in 2010, but it seems everyone else was for Sestak. He is a unique candidate that the nation needs in Washington. I and all my friends remain in support of Sestak.

  2. Sestak did not run against Specter. Republican Specter switched parties from Republican to Democrat because he knew he could not beat Toomey. Then he ran against Sestak. State Committee frequently makes bad decisions. Witness the loss of one of the most qualified women , Judge Lazarus, in the primary.

    Please let the people who know Sestak best decide, not power brokers from other states

  3. Josh Shapiro? Who the hell is he? Oh, yeah, that’s the guy the Philly gang keeps pushing because. . . . Why? Ed Rendell says to do it? He did such a great job helping in 2014 with the legislative races. How many seats did we lose? What’s our Congressional delegation look like? The National and State committees are a disgrace. Schumer should stay in NY and Tester in Montana and have a big cup of STFU, because I’m thinking they don’t know so much about winning races in Pennsylvania. In the meantime, maybe Politics PA can actually find a real story to write about.

  4. Sestak continues to generate support from the middle of the state. He’s saying the right things to attract many voters to his side. He’s showing up at events, and if you’ve ever met him, you can see he’s sincere. He’s working for the job, not waiting for it to be handed to him by party “leaders.” He’s built his base, and it’s about time the folks who were against his run against Arlen Specter to get over it. That was then. This is now. Go Joe!

  5. Pike County Democrats are behind Sestak. He’s thoughtful, energetic, works hard and shows up. If the state Dems would just chill, Toomey can be defeated. Toomey has been making centrist noises, but his latest ad on right wing radio thinly disguises his privatization agenda in the name of strengthening Social Security.

  6. If josh has intentions of running then he should be honest to the voters and come out and announce instead of the charade of running for reelection. He will have to announce in Jan or Feb at latest. and he would be sworn in jan, not a deceit on voters

  7. Joe was very warmly received as the featured speaker by the Berks County Dems at a packed ball room in the Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Reading May 1st. I agree with Lois.

  8. This is a fairly easy call. Shapiro would be a far superior candidate than Sestak who manages somehow to annoy just about everyone at one time or another. Toomey has always been underrated as a candidate and will be tough to beat under the best of circumstances. If the Democrats have any chance of winning this seat, they will need a much stronger candidate than Sestak.

  9. Get a clue David. Arlen Specter would have been destroyed by Pat Toomey in 2010. Sestak came within 2 points of being elected. Anyone who thinks Specter would have done better is simply flat wrong. Rendell’s problem is he can’t get over the fact that Democrats didn’t flock to support his chosen one, Arlen Specter, because Specter spent 30 years pushing conservative causes and helped shape the most conservative Supreme Court in decades. Is it any wonder the Democratic electorate rejected Arlen Specter after his party switch? Get over it Eddie.

  10. The good old boys in PA and DC should never underestimate the support Joe Sestak has among the rest of us. I’m sick and tired of the old boys telling us who should win what seat.

  11. Sestak is already campaigning hard against Toomey, while the Democratic leadership is campaigning against Sestak. Whose ego are we taling about?

  12. Observer-

    Millions of dollars have been wasted in vain attempts to satisfy Sestak’s ego. But, the simple fact is that his wife and daughter live in Virginia, and he claims he lives with his wife and daughter. Ergo… he lives in Virginia, and merely owns a piece of real estate in PA.

    This is the same type of crap Santorum tried to get away with.

    Specter would have beaten Toomey if Sestak hadn’t ruined things. Specter owned the center and had twice as much money.

    Sestak is admired by Sestak.

  13. Diano, you have been beating this dead horse for years now – everyone is sick of it. Are you anti-military service, or what? Get a clue.

    Also clueless is the DSCC, as exemplified by their incompetent performance the last two senate cycles. They should just STFU and back whomever the Pennsylvania Democrats pick. They are the buttholes who gave us Republican Arlen Specter as the Dem-Boss-Backed candidate – a complete fiasco. And Fast Eddie – loser through SO many national cycles – has his well-greased hands all over that one. Those DSCC Clowns remind me of the ’61 Mets.

  14. The Democratic leadership doesn’t seem to know how to beat a Wall Street Tea Partier in blue Pennsylvania. It was the leadership, not Sestak, who botched the race in 2010 and they are about to hand the seat to Toomey once again. Sestak is the strongest candidate and admired by the voters. It time for the leadership to drop the snit fit and back him if they want to take Toomey’s seat.

  15. Jane-
    Sestak lives in Alexandria, VA, not D.C. 🙂

    Sestak will never move to PA. He’s just a tourist here. If he loses this election, he’ll likely give up the pretense and sell his Delco house.

  16. “Because a Washington, D.C.-selected candidate won’t do very well in Pennsylvania.”
    So true, Joe!! I know you aren’t doing very well in Pennsylvania! Maybe you should move out of your Washington, D.C. house and move to Pennsylvania instead!!!

  17. So are we just going to keep raising this issue every couple of weeks from now until November? Because Shapiro can’t commit to running for Senate until after the County Commissioners race is over. Nothing is going to happen — publicly at least — before then.

  18. Given Sestak’s anemic fundraising, I think Rendell is wrong about Sestak being not easy to beat. Sestak barely has enough money for one week of advertising. Last time, Sestak was able to transfer $4.5 million from his Congressional campaign. He has no such resource this time.

    If Josh gets solid support from the party, he should be able to eclipse Sestak’s two years of fundraising in a single quarter, and have plenty of quality staffers and volunteers.

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