PA-Sen: Harry Reid Takes Swipe at Sestak

Sestak-WalkThe worst kept secret in politics isn’t a secret anymore.

In case you haven’t heard, Joe Sestak and national Democrats don’t like each other.

This was finally publicly confirmed yesterday by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

Earlier this month, Reid made it clear that he thought Katie McGinty will win the 2016 election. This time, though, he also chose to take a shot at the former Congressman.

Once again, Reid was discussing the 2016 national Senate landscape, this time with CQ Roll Call.

“I think in Pennsylvania, Katie McGinty’s going to win that. Sestak has been an unproductive candidate for us, and she now has the very popular governor supporting her, Ed Rendell,” Reid said.

Reid was finally confirming rumors that Democrats have been unhappy with Sestak’s campaign. Of course Reid is set to retire next year, which both explains his outspokenness and suggests his opinion won’t be worth much in 2017 if Sestak is able to emerge victorious.

McGinty and Sestak, as well as Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, are fighting for the Democratic nomination. Incumbent GOP Senator Pat Toomey is running for re-election.

UPDATE: The Sestak campaign responded to Reid’s remarks with an email to supporters, a portion of which is included below:

Senate Minority Leader Reid is right when he justified yesterday the D.C. establishment’s lack of support: “Sestak has been an unproductive candidate for us.”

But it depends who “us” is:

For the establishment, Reid’s right.

I was cited by House Majority Leader Hoyer as the “most productive” member of my freshman congressional class for passing 19 bipartisan pieces of legislation in the House my first two years that helped people.

We are in a fight for the soul of America – and being productive for “We the People” needs a warrior for the people, even if it means being “unproductive” to the establishment.

36 Responses

  1. If my wife would have ever known how many Democrat causes I try to give money to, she would have left me a long time ago. Recently I was able to scratch the Democrat Senate Campaign Committee after a “personal” solicitation from Harry Reid. How dare he presume that it is his role to pick our candidate for US Senator from PA in 2016? This looks like a repeat of 2010 when our national and state Democrat “leadership” wanted us to stick with Arlen Specter. I am sticking around for a repeat of 2010 in 2016 and — meanwhile — no money for DSCC!

  2. Michael-

    Because the research was about what a far-right-wing conservative Toomey was. Unfortunately, the GOP had turned so conservative that the opposition would be most effective in a general election, not in a GOP primary. The GOP was pissed at Specter for supporting Obama’s stimulus package and healthcare.

    I know that Specter staffers tried to work for Sestak and were turned away. I suspect the opposition research was a comparison of Specter’s record against Toomey’s, so it wouldn’t have been as useful to Sestak.

    Also, the research has a value to it. I don’t know if it can be just given away for free, without violating finance laws, since the money to develop was spent by the Specter campaign. It might have required a “purchase”.

    But, Sestak did not seem to want to go after Toomey’s conservative record, and gave up the “center” to Toomey, for Joe’s “different kind of politician” campaign theme.

    But, let’s be VERY clear, Joe refused the work with the party, not the other way around.

  3. David,

    If Specter had 6 years of opposition research on Toomey why didn’t he stay on the Republican side and use it?

    After Sestak Defeated Specter why didn’t Specters campaign support the Democrat party and give the opposition research to sestaks campaign, isn’t that supporting the party?

    in truth the party defeated themselves and just might do it again in 2016, that’s sad.

  4. Michael –

    The congressional staff payroll for Sestak is available to see on the opensecrets site. Sestak has publicly stated in interviews that his staffers worked around 70 hours/week (11-12 hours per day, six days a week). If you look at their salaries, you will see that the staffers made less than $7/hour (below minimum wage).

    The staff was unproductive, due to turnover (and not being particularly good at their jobs). One female employee in the Delco
    office quit, after the District Manager, Bill Walsh, told her to “Shut the f*ck up.” and that she was “hired for her looks not her opinions, and her job was to look good for Joe”.

    According to the Naval Times (before Sestak entered politics), one of Admiral Mullen’s very first acts was to remove Sestak from his position for a “poor command climate”. The article stated that many felt this was long overdue, once Mullen replaced Clark (Sestak’s protector). This was a career killing move and Sestak retired soon after.

    Also, his daughter was around 3-4 years old at the time, not 9.

    Also, Sestak’s PA house is in Edgmont, PA in Delaware county (not Chester county nor Media, PA). However, his primary residence is in Alexandria, VA where his wife and child live, work, go-to-school. He’s owned that house since 1998, and got a building permit from the city for an extension in Oct 2010. (Likely, in anticipation of winning the Senate seat.)

    Sestak himself mentioned that he had been approached to run for Senate, before they picked Specter. So, if you’ve got a problem with the story, take it up with Sestak.

    You talk about someone who’s accountable, but Sestak blames his loss on everybody else.

    Specter had $10 million cash-on-hand and six years of opposition research on Toomey that we never got to use. Sestak was a gift to Toomey.

    eagleswing –

    Sestak won in a Dem sweep year (2006), and had $3 million. The Iraq War was a big issue, and the Republican, Curt Weldon, had been big supporter of the war (and repeatedly/falsely) claimed that WMD’s had been found. Sestak pretended to oppose the war, and promised to hold Bush accountable. Also, Weldon got raided by the FBI shortly before the election (with video of FBI taking boxes of evidence).

    Once, Sestak actually got into congress, he turned his back on his campaign promises and voted for Iraq War funding that did not contain the accountability and timetables he promised he would insist upon.

    Sestak claims he lives with his wife and daughter. His wife and daughter live in VA not PA. Therefore, where does Sestak live?

    Once he loses the primary (or general), Sestak’s PA house will be up for sale immediately.

  5. i’d certainly love to see joe sestak sue some of the commentators here for libel. if you have facts to support your specious allegations, you should be willing to state your allegations and sources publicly — instead of doing the groundless mudslinging apparently so loved by a few on this board.

  6. this misleading and false proclamation by reid is yet another example of how the Dem Rendell/Wolf machine tries to dictate what everyone does so Rendell can avenge sestet’s refusal to kowtow to them. Reid’s statements ignore how Joe won a predominantly-republican US house district by comfortable majorities.check Joe’s website for the facts which directly contradict what Reid is saying.

    i for one –a lifelong Dem and superstore– am giving NO further money to the Pa state Dem machine or DSCC because of their shameful treatment of Sestak.

    and by the way–if every senator and rep who has a house near DC were disqualified from voting, there would be no Congress.

  7. Sestak oversaw the Navys 350 billion dollar budget as deputy chief of naval operations under President bill Clinton.

    Sestak was not removed from his naval command he retired because his daughter had brain cancer at the age of 9 years. he reached the ranks of 3 star Admiral but retired as a 2 star Admiral because he didn’t have enough time as a 3 star to retire at that rank.

    Sestak lives in Chester county, I believe its actually Media, PA he didn’t turn down an offer to run he turned down an offer to drop out of the race and let Specter in.

    if Specter could beat Toomey why did he have to switch parties to do it? he left the republican party because he knew Toomey was going to beat him.

    As far as the War on terror and Sestaks involvement, what do you expect a Navy Admiral to do when we are at war? say no?

    Joe Sestak also was the first director of deep blue, the Navy’s anti terrorism task force.

    as far “unknown” claiming Sestak has committed unlawful acts…where’s the proof? anyone can claim anything but back it up with proof. I provided a link to his Bio and fact sheets about his service in the military and how productive he was as a congressman.

    you can’t be productive without having your staff work with you. if they worked 70 hours a week they got paid for every hour.

    if they didn’t get paid then prove it, bet ya cant.

    hear say is bullcrap, proof is everything. Sestak didn’t piss anything away on any failed run, it was the party leaders that caused him to lose the seat by campaigning against him when he defeated Specter, they turned on him because he made them look like the fools they are.

    we need more politicians that are willing to stand and be accountable instead of towing the party line. are you guys telling me you vote straight party regardless of the candidate, that’s just foolish.

    please check facts before repeating rumors and baseless allegations, that’s what all of us should do before we vote, I never blindly follow those political commercials, they twist so much stuff they should be illegal.

  8. In my opinion, Joe Sestak exudes arrogant entitlement like Rick Santorum. Pat Toomey has aligned himself with the Republican Establishment which, to say the least, does not engender enthusiasm in the Republican, rank and file, base.

    From what I can see, the more personable and more experienced Katie McGinty will be the more challenging. I hope the Ds choose Sestak.

  9. Barbara Blum-

    “I wish Democratic Senators would stay in their home and concern themselves with improving the ways their own states function.”
    1) Sestak’s home is Virginia
    2) Reid is the Senate majority leader, so he does have a perspective on the entire institution

    “I know Joe Sestak. I loved his voting record.”
    1) Did you love his votes to fund the Iraq War, in contradiction to his campaign promises?
    2) Did you love Joe’s votes for warrantless wiretaps and telecom immunity?

    The Dems pulled Specter onto our team AFTER Sestak turned down an offer to run. Sestak raised money to keep the 7th in Dem hands, then pissed it away on a failed Senate run, costing us the seat and many millions of dollars. The cost of Sestak’s ego was about $20 million, a Senate seat (that Specter would have won) and the 7th congressional seat. THAT is “unproductive”.

    Dale Hill-

    He might very well have won in 2010 if he had not refused to work with the party and refused their help (and the help of Dems from the Specter campaign who wanted to defeat Toomey).

    Now he’s running without a campaign manager and engaged in nonsense like his walking around the state.

    There is a big difference between “independent” and “selfish”. Don’t be fooled.

  10. I wish Democratic Senators would stay in their home and concern themselves with improving the ways their own states function. Reid does not know anything about Sestak, except what some of our party bosses tell him. You weren’t productive in Nevada, in fixing your housing crises. You did not have the ability to turn votes to help Obama. The Senatorial Campaign Committee and Cogressional Campaign Committee never helped find candidates or help them in Pennsylvania. The McGinty candidacy is a joke. She has no legislative background. She was a big time loser when she ran for Governor last year. Her reward for losing was Chief of Staff to our Governor. His first of several problems. In the midst of a budget crises she left him to run for Senate.
    I know Joe Sestak. I loved his voting record. The powers here don’t like him because he dared to beat Specter, a Republican who switched because he was not going to win a primary against the Republican Toomey.
    Pleas, all you power brokers leave the election to the people who think Joe will make a good Senator, just as he was a good Congressman.

  11. I like Sestak, I met and walked with him in Johnstown and Ligonier. His platform and position on issues suit me fine. Previous negative comments sound more like vendettas to me. And yes, he would have won the previous election over Toomey with a little party support.

  12. I’m going with Sestak, I like his platform, his independence, and find most of the previous negative comments to be questionable.

  13. Unknown-

    Is he under investigation or grand jury?

    Can you elaborate on the potential charges?

    IRS and FEC violations seem the most likely. Maybe some labor laws?

  14. Michael: Admiral Sestak is a callous, hardhearted, unfeeling demagogue who has committed a number of unlawful and unconscionable acts. You will soon gain some insight into the character of this sociopath and his arcane motives for seeking public office.

  15. tommyd-

    Specter was more of a Democrat than Sestak. That’s why the Republicans hated Specter and pushed him out.


    “being productive for the party means” helping the other candidates and working for the whole ticket and trying to build the party.

    The “War on Terror” has been the biggest f*cking waste of money and has created more terrorism, by attacking Iraq and doing stupid security-theater (like taking off shoes at airport).

    Joe was removed from command for abusing his naval staff (just like he continued to do with his campaign and congressional staffs).

    “Joe Sestak believes in people”: correction.. Joe Sestak believes in USING people.

    “his congressional office was open 7 days a week”, because he made his staff work 70 hour weeks for 40-hour pay. And, the office was so poorly run that multiple requests and follow-ups were needed by constituents because of the high turnover.

    As for Joe’s book: that is going to come back to bite him in the ass if/when people start digging into it.

  16. Michael would you please explain to me how Joe was in charge of a $350b budget? I may be a novice on the inner workings of our military but that just doesn’t seem right.

    Oh and candidates seem to write books now and then. From May 2015: “Every candidate an author: The ceaseless boom in books by politicians”

  17. being productive for the party means being a follower without a voice. the dem party doesn’t need anymore followers what it needs is for their elected representatives to work for the people.

    Joe Sestak is a public servant, a former Admiral who fought in the War on terror protecting all of us, he also handled a 350 Billion dollar Naval budget.

    Wolf cant even handle Pennsylvanias budget which is way smaller than the budget Joe Sestak was in charge of.

    what Reid wants is a “yes” man or woman, someone that will not be an independent thinker but a blind follower voting in line with what the party wants even if it is wrong. he will get that with McGinty but not Sestak.

    Joe Sestak believes in people, working for the people and being transparent and accountable, his congressional office was open 7 days a week, find one senator or congressman that is doing that now.

    find another candidate that will put their platform in writing like Joe Sestak did with his book and then actually SIGN it as a contract with the people of Pennsylvania.

    like him or not, you will not find a better qualified candidate for the U.S. Senate against Pat Toomey who says one thing and does another especially where Veterans and Womens rights are concerned.

  18. Easy there Observer 2. You’re starting to sound a little paranoid. Might be catching all those crazy germs from ya boy the Admiral. Maybe go for a little walk to clear your head. What’s on for today, 27 miles from the middle of nowhere to eastern nowhere?

  19. But remember David, it was the party leadership that was destructive to the party when it wanted to nominate a Republican for Senate. But the rank and file wanted a Democrat and chose Sestak. The party leadership withheld its support and Toomey won the election by a slim margin. Harry Reid, Ed Rendell and friends are responsible for Senator Pat Toomey.

  20. Chris-

    I agree that Sestak did a decent job of spinning it, to hide how unproductive (ie destructive) he’s been to the party.

  21. If Sestak was the Emperor, I’d be more likely to vote for him. Who wants to be on that guy’s bad side? Admittedly, this was a good response from Sestak.

  22. Observer –

    Volunteers don’t get paid. Staff gets underpaid.

    Kris Higgins-

    Sestak’s “independent” streak is a “selfish” streak. Don’t confuse the two.

    As for “honorable”, that’s what people think of Sestak before he breaks his word and screws them on deals.

  23. Reid knows nothing about picking winners – look at what he did with the DSCC the last several elections, BIG majority to big minority. And he clearly does not know PA politics if he thinks Fast Eddie is popular anywhere outside Johnny Doc’s union hall and David Cohen’s Comcast executive suite. Even Dems hate Eddie with a passion, especially all the women who know what a sleazy cheater he was when married to Midge. Looks like Harry is blind in more than one eye. What will he do if Fetterman wins??

  24. I’ve known Joe for a long time. He is an honorable man who truly can help improve things….He did when he was our congressman…the party bosses didn’t like his independent streak……well, like Bernie he says it like it is… .like Biden, he truly likes people….he’s a treasure. ..

  25. Is “Central PA Dem” FYI’s new name or is it Commander Sheppard? It would be helpful if ya all stuck with one name for a while. I guess it is possible there are 3 people but something seems unseemly! Just wondering.

  26. It’s become clear to everyone that Sestak’s campaign is a sinking ship. Whether you like him or hate him, he’s divisive and not the person to unite the party. He will not be the nominee.

  27. Notice how when Reid said the very popular governor he meant Rendell? Even the DC Dems get how bad Wolf is right now.

  28. Pat Unger-

    Because I just logged on.

    As to Sestak’s response, the only “We” he cares about is the “royal we”.

    “The royal “we”, or majestic plural (pluralis majestatis in Latin, literally, “the plural of majesty”), is the use of a plural pronoun to refer to a single person holding a high office, such as a sovereign (e.g., a monarch or sultan) or religious leader (e.g., the Pope or a bishop).” or an egotistical Admiral

    Sestak’s been “unproductive” for the party and hurt down-ticket candidates. Sestak never has coattails, because he’s always looking out for himself only, and bad mouths the rest of the Dems on the ticket to garner Republican votes. He’s also been “unproductive” by refusing to work with the party organization in a coordinated campaign to prevent duplication of effort, especially for GOTV operations.

  29. Harry Reid likes to help the Democrats lose elections, I guess. He’s been doing it for a while now.

  30. How has this piece been up for more than five minutes without Diano posting one of his many unsolicited and unwelcome opinions?

Comments are closed.

  • When Should The Special Elections For The PA House Be Held?

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