It goes back to 2010, when Sestak successfully defeated incumbent Senator (and Republican turned Democrat) Arlen Specter for the party’s nomination. A lot of effort went into getting Specter to switch parties and the Democrats didn’t want a costly primary hampering their chances to hold the seat.
Still, Sestak beat Specter and nearly defeated Toomey.
As a result, Democrats have tried to get literally anyone else to run in 2016. Each potential challenger, though, has for one reason or another failed to materialize.
Michael Nutter seemed to consider the possibility but decided to pass.
Democratic Senate leaders, such as Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, tried for months to convince Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro to throw his hat in the ring. Nevertheless, Shapiro decided to stay on the sidelines.
Given all this, it looks like Democrats are at last trying to make peace with Joe Sestak.
In a Politico piece by Manu Raju on Minority Leader Harry Reid’s involvement in the 2016 elections, the author mentions a meeting between Reid and Sestak.
“When Reid and his lieutenants assessed the increasingly messy situation in the Pennsylvania Senate race, they decided they needed to intervene,” Raju writes. “For months, former Rep. Joe Sestak had been running what they considered a lackluster campaign, forcing party leaders to woo other potential candidates. But with Sestak now appearing as the candidate most likely to win the Democratic nomination, Reid and party elders sought to right the ship.”
“At a private meeting in Washington last month, sources familiar with the session said, a clear message was delivered to Sestak: Make some key changes to the campaign — including hiring more staff and stepping up his fundraising — and the party establishment would seriously consider throwing its weight behind him,” Raju reveals.
There is always the possibility that Sestak resists whatever changes Reid suggested or becomes upset that his outsider image could be tarnished if he and the Senate leader come to an agreement.
Nonetheless, for perhaps the first time ever, Senate Democrats appear to be at least somewhat amenable to serving alongside Joe Sestak.