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PA-Sen: Sestak Comment Causes Twitter Outrage

Sestak-WalkOver the weekend, the PA Senate Democratic primary experienced its first real social media controversy.

For those unaware, a social media controversy occurs when a comment by one candidate is taken with great umbrage by another candidate usually through the form of tweets and/or fundraising emails.

On Friday, former Congressman and Senate candidate Joe Sestak spoke to the Pennlive editorial board.

As is his wont, Sestak self-righteously talked down his opponents for being part of the political system.

“It’s kind of a prostitution of the system, at least since Citizens United,” Sestak said of campaigning.

“At least until a few days ago, the only money in the race against me was from outside Pennsylvania,” he continued. “There was not a TV ad from my opponent. But that’s the problem. I don’t believe that you can give loyalty to someone who said, later on, ‘Sestak, whenever I tell you anything, your only answer is to be yes’. And another senator said ‘We do this to everyone.’”

That last sentence refers to a conversation Sestak has mentioned before, specifically in a recent Politico piece, with an unnamed high-ranking Democratic Senator.

“To me, this is really, about what most ails America and the lack of trust there. And how could I just say ‘yes’ to that senator? Being a senator is what I want to be, gaining the trust is what I want. So why win a seat, but you have to win it through a prostituted way?”

When that final statement was tweeted out by Editorial Board Editor John Micek, McGinty was quick to respond.

EMILY’s List, which has endorsed McGinty, also followed up.

McGinty and her supporters feel the use of the term prostitution was sexist and that Sestak’s statements were directed at specifically at her.

This race continues to heat up as we near the April 26th primary where Sestak, McGinty and Braddock Mayor John Fetterman will battle for the Democratic nomination.

68 Responses

  1. So when McGinty finishes third behind Sestak and Fetterman on election day, what do you think the establishment will pick for her to try for next? Let’s start a pool.

  2. Ms. Connor -I am a very active participant in the democratic process. I have been canvassing and phonebanking for Democratic candidates who share my values since 2007. I canvassed and phone banked extensively for Larry Curry, President Obama, Bob Casey, Joe Sestak and others. When I canvassed with Larry Curry during the 2008 election – I met an elderly woman in Elkins Park who asked Larry for help – her elderly husband had suffered a stroke and they were running out of money and couldn’t pay their property taxes. To this day I’ll forget when she came to the door and said “Can you help please”. While canvassing for President Obama, I met people who didn’t have health insurance. I met others whose children had serious illnesses and were afraid to change their health insurance. One of my closest friends died of ovarian cancer. She was worried that her health insurance would be cancelled. As she was dying, she was worried that her 19 year son would not have health insurance. I taught classes at Gwynedd Mercy College – I had students who worried about financing their college education. I had other students, non-traditional students, many in their 40’s and 50’s, who were either losing their jobs or were afraid to lose their jobs.

    I have volunteered extensively in Eastern and Western Mongtomery County and in Philadelphia as well as other parts of the state and the country.

    I spoke to a man who wanted so desperately to volunteer but was working two jobs and taking care of his mother with Alzheimer’s – he told me is was exhausted and beside himself with worry.

    I’m canvassing now for Joe and others and people’s worries are equally profound. I met a woman while canvassing in another state who did not have health insurance -she made too little money for ACA and her state did not accept Medicaid expansion. She had blood in her stool and didn’t know where to turn.

    I canvassed in Northeast Philadelphia and met people who were concerned about jobs, the trash that litters the streets of Philadelphia, and the cost of college education . I canvassed in Western Pennsylvania recently and met people who feel so forgotten by their representatives – I found myself close to tears. They are plagued with drugs (bath salts, heroin and pills), there are limited jobs and wages are deliberately kept low. Union busting killed wages there. They have no public transportation in that area so they have to have a reliable vehicle but the good paying jobs are far away. The gas and coal industries are laying off and job are scare.

    Finally, in 2010 I spoke to a woman from Feasterville who, to this day, is the person who really inspires me to continue with the phonebanking and canvassing and staying involved even as I am disgusted with the Dem Party bosses and politics in general. She said she was voting for Joe because of his support for childhood cancer research. Her 11 year old daughter died from bone cancer.

    Do you know how many people have screamed at me when I’ve canvassed or phonebanked and told me not to bother them? – too busy watching the Eagles, Phillies, they don’t care etc. This woman lost the most important thing in her life and told me that something still matter to her.

    I don’t need to go to Joe Sestak’s website, Barack Obama’s website, Bob Casey’s website or Bernie Sander’s website to know what issues matter. I spoke to the lady in Feasterville, the families in Western Pennsylvania, the elderly lady in Elkins Park, my students and my neighbors and I know the issues that matter. I only support candidates who understand and work for the people I have met.

    Ms. Connor’s and others here should go out and speak to their neighbors. Make a few calls and canvass a few houses – I promise you it would do you, the Democratic party and Commonwealth of PA a world of good.

  3. “but the people who run Emily’s list are men-hating sexists?”

    You know, I now have to wonder if this is the case.

  4. Sestak’s endorsement by Inquirer is good news. Did Politics PA hear about it? Fair and balanced??

  5. So now not only is McGinty a whore, but the people who run Emily’s list are men-hating sexists? What is it with you people?

  6. By endorsing McGinty, Emily’s List reveals itself as being more concerned in electing women per se, as opposed to electing candidates who support their position. Before they endorsed McGinty and as long as I thought they were more concerned about issues, I gave them a pass. But no longer.

    Emily’s list is sexist, and discriminates against my gender. Hillary Clinton is a woman with a razor-sharp mind and a social conscience. I will be proud if she becomes the first female President. Katie McGinty is no Hillary Clinton.

    By the way, do you mindless woman-because-she-is-a-woman types know that Joe Sestak supported and worked for Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama in the 2008 primary elections?

  7. Wolf and his team of thugs are slowly killing off the PA Dems by endorsing and putting these average politicians up against giants like Joe Sestak. Stop twisting Sestaks words around, what he meant is clearly stated. Time to shift the times of the PA Dems and go against our GOV. That is why I am voting for Zapalla & Sestak.

  8. Alexandria, I hope the democratic voters of PA care about treating women with respect and defeating Pat Toomey and not just copy-pasting meaningless talking points from a campaign website.

    You listed all of those vague things that the good people of Pennsylvania care about, well all of those issues deserve some blame from having unfavorable numbers in Congress. If Joe Sestak had not spurned every offer of help from the party in 2010, we wouldn’t have Pat Toomey and his abysmal voting record in the Senate. The people know better and won’t make the same mistake twice.

  9. Joe and his followers are longing for the good ol’ days when you could call a woman a whore and just leave it at that. Why do we even need to talk about it anymore, right Joe?

  10. It’s telling that people who support Joe Sestak talk about the issues concerning Pennsylvania voters. People supporting McGinty only attack Joe and NEVER talk about the issues concerning Pennsylvania voters.

  11. D. Escanaba-

    No. Joe was saying that you have to prostitute yourself out to be accepted by the party. His meaning was quite clear.

  12. Alexandria Khalil-

    If Joe knew about canvassing and phone banking, he would have accepted the party’s help in 2010 and worked on a coordinated campaign. Instead, he wasted time/money/resources on duplicate efforts. He sunk his own ship and has NO ONE to blame but himself.

    He complains about being under-funded. Specter had over $10 million cash-on-hand in spring of 2010. He would have had over $15 million for the General election against Toomey if Sestak had stayed in his congressional seat. Specter would have beat Toomey, and Dems would have retained control of the 7th.

    Sarah Connors-

    I think he’s more of a Trump. Completely arrogant. Won’t listen to any advice. Calls everyone else losers. Will happily destroy the party out of spite if he can’t get is own way.

  13. This is all especially ridiculous (and shows how tone-deaf the McGinty campaign is) because Sestak wasn’t mentioning McGinty. He wasn’t referring to her, or probably even thinking about her at all. By them bringing it up and making the assumption that he was talking about her, they get people thinking about all the ways she might have sold herself to the establishment. Not wise at all.

  14. What a silly non-scandal. Joe was talking about HIMSELF. This manufactured outrage is all about gaining McGinty some much-needed traction. But notice they’re not out there pushing it beyond a few tweets because they know it’s Sestak who comes out looking better here: the establishment tried to get him to sell his soul, and he refused. That’s the histort. As for McGinty, who knows what promises she made to Harry Reid or Chuck Schumer or Eddie Rendell. Sestak’s a real guy who uses real talk. The idea that this was a calculated word-choice is just absurd. What would he have to gain? He was just talking about his own experience with the Democratic leadership, who really should be ashamed of themselves for their behavior from the get-go in this race. Sestak is the best candidate. McGinty gave up an important role and left Governor Wolf in the lurch (with apparently lasting consequences). Looking forward to a Sestak win putting this sad episode behind us.

  15. Ms. Connors – if you don’t understand the issues that concern the voters of Pennsylvania then that speaks volumes about McGinty, Emily’s List and you.

    Again, there is only one thing that matters in this election – The citizens of Pennsylvania and the people of the United States. They are losing sleep at night thinking about their health insurance costs and their medical bills. They are worried about veterans in their families not receiving benefits. They are worried about their family members in the military fighting endless wars. They are worried about terrorism, gun violence and crime. They are worried about losing their homes to foreclosures. They are worried about about the environment and their drinking water. They are worried about their children not receiving a good education. They are worried about losing their jobs and stagnate wages. They are worried that their cars will break down and there is no available public transportation to get to work. They are worried about the family members with mental health issues. They are worried about seniors in their families. They are worried about the cost of higher education for their children and job retraining for themselves. Joe Sestak has fought for everyone of these issues and more. Joe Sestak understands what this election is about – the PEOPLE OF PENNSYLVANIA AND THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES. Everything else is noise and faux outrage.

  16. There was not one coherent thought in that entire post. Just some rambling, deflecting BS and a paragraph of the same crap you can lift off of Sestak’s website about everyone’s 6 he can’t get his nose out of.

    Let me quickly summarize the issue with the admiral. He’s a jerk who everyone hates once they work with him. He is Democratic Ted Cruz. Acknowledging that a Senator’s biggest job is just to vote in the right direction, he is the worst possible Democratic choice because he has shown a willingness to vote against the beliefs we hold dear as Dems. Not only are his votes unpredictable, but he is the worst person to have as a part of the Democratic team to get things done since he has shown such eagerness to stab the so called establishment in the back if it makes him look better.

  17. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have Ivy League degrees. Ted went to Harvard Law as well – I’m not voting for them. Not a Palin or Bachman supporter – but both were elected – not by me. Ms. Connor’s (sorry for getting your last name wrong earlier), your candidate did not make it to the Foreign Policy debate. Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin made every debate. You are screaming faux outrage in hope of covering up how irresponsible and cowardly McGinty was for not making the Foreign policy debate.

    As far as the party leadership – they supported Specter last time. Further, the party leadership doesn’t canvass or phone bank. It is people like me and others who do. We know what the Voters care about and what keeps them up at night. People care about their sick family members and paying for health insurance and medical bills. They worry about losing their homes to foreclosures. They worry about terrorism and crime. They worry about stagnate wages. They worry about lost jobs. They worry about the environment and clean drinking water. They worry about their veteran family members who are not receiving proper benefits. They worry that their family members in the military will be engulfed in endless war. They worry about how to get to work when their car breaks down and there is no reliable public transportation to get them to work. They worry that their children are not getting a proper education. They worry that no one in Washington or Harrisburg hears them or cares about them. Joe Sestak has fought for all of these issues on behalf of the citizens PA and the people of this country and more.

  18. This is not surprising from a guy who hires female staff based upon their looks.


    Joe is pro-Sestak. He’d easily be a pro-lifer if he was running on the GOP ticket. It’s all about Joe.

    BTW, does any one know why McGinty missed the debate? Scheduling conflict?

  19. Sarah is right.

    Joe Sestak revealed his inner-Todd Akin. Sestak is unfit to serve the people of Pennsylvania.

    Pennsylvania Democrats have the incredible opportunity to make history and send a progressive, pro-choice Democratic woman to Washington. I’m proud President Obama endorsed Katie McGinty. Nobody called Obama a member of the establishment when he was running for 2008.


  20. Katie IS the Fracker’s prostitute. She has demonstrated that – explicitly – many times in her unaccomplished career. She is just pissed that somebody called her on it. Even though she is STILL accepting thousands from the Fossil Fuel mafia.

  21. Comparing McGinty to Palin and Bachman is lazy and pathetic. This is someone who has been repeatedly appointed to high positions based on merit, who has an ivy league law degree, who has been incredibly successful in both government and the private sector. But you compare her to Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman because Katie has personality and an accent and all female politicians have to fall into the few simple typecasts for you to understand them.

    The Republicans have made it clear which candidate they fear, and it sure ain’t Joe.

  22. Sara Conners illogic – We should vote for a woman simply because she is a woman, regardless of whether she is the better candidate. With illogic like that, Sarah Palin could have been our Vice President. And Michelle Bachman?

    I’m voting Sestak and Clinton because they are the best candidates.

  23. Sarah Collins – McGinty, the Democratic Sarah Palin, did not make the Foreign Policy debate. Scream sexism all you want – the Republicans are loving it. You should be upset with McGinty not Sestak.

  24. Shouldn’t people be more upset with McGinty and Emily’s List for not having a dictionary?

    2. To devote (oneself or one’s talent, for example) to an unworthy purpose, especially for personal gain.

  25. Tony’s logic – Yes we have a major problem of women being underrepresented in our government, but if anyone makes a deliberate attempt to fix that it is totally sexist against men.

    Do you fellas know how stupid and petty you all sound? Joe is part of the same old misogyny. Just because he isn’t a total whack job that wants to put every woman back in the kitchen does not mean he gets off the hook for applying a gross label in an attempt to dismiss a candidate that beat him for every endorsement. If you are telling me that Sestak didn’t want the Obama and Biden endorsement than you’re drunk.

  26. Once again to the faux outrage – the real outrage is that a candidate for the US Senate chose NOT to make the Foreign Policy debate. McGinty is the Democratic Sarah Palin.

    At least Palin made it to the debates.

  27. I don’t understand how Emily’s List can be taken seriously. To support only female candidates seems to me to be discriminatory and sexist. They are also stupid because Joe Sestak fully pro-choice.

    I’m not going to vote for a candidate just because she is a woman. I will however vote for Hillary Clinton because she is a better candidate than her opponent.

  28. Shame on Joe Sestak. He is the Todd Akin of 2016. His comments are disgusting, disgraceful and embarrassing.

    Joe Sestak revealed his inner-Todd Akin and is clearly unfit to serve the people of Pennsylvania.

    Elected officials should condemn his comments and call on him to withdraw from the race.


  29. McGinty did not make the Foreign Policy debate – That’s the real issue everyone should be discussing.

    Crying sexism/misogyny by her supporters is only being used so that no one discusses her missing a very important debate – Foreign Policy. Pat Toomey and the Republicans couldn’t have asked for a bigger gift than McGinty.

  30. Yeah, what ever happened to the good ol’ days when you could call ’em whores and nobody complained?

  31. He’s accusing McGinty of exactly what he accused Specter of in 2010, yet he never once used that term when he ran against Specter. It seems that Joe only thinks female opponents can be guilty of prostitution. He simply doesn’t think before he opens his mouth.

  32. As a woman I am outraged that McGinty and the Dem establishment is concerned about the term prostitution. Please -there are male prostitutes. Secondly – Emily’s list is nothing more than the Karl Rove superpac for the Democratic Party.

    McGinty didn’t make it to the Foreign Policy debate – let’s stick with the real issues not with faux outrage. If McGinty can’t play with the adults – she should go home.

  33. I dont support the guy, but this is ridiculous.

    Besides the “pretend feminism” here, there are plenty of male prostitutes too.

  34. If you don’t understand that prostitute is a gendered word that is used in a derogatory way towards women far more than it is ever used for men, then you are faux liberals who would rather claim equal persecution to satisfy your martyr complex than face the serious issues of gender inequality that women still face in this country. He was clearly referring to Katie who has the establishment support and he used horrible language in doing so. Don’t give Sestak a pass here because he garbled it in with one of his tangent filled rants. This was a gross comment.

  35. Once, maybe Sestak gets a pass. But using it twice, there is no doubt that he chose the word carefully and on purpose. And he wouldn’t have used it if McGinty was male.

  36. Much ado about nothing. Katie is grasping at straws. Her non-campaign is desperate.

  37. The true feminist response here is to acknowledge that both men and women can be prostitutes.

    Gender doesn’t matter: if someone says they will only give you money if you do what they tell you to do and then you do it, well, that fits the definition of political prostitution.

    McGinty’s faux outrage is just that: faux.

  38. Katie has proven for the past couple years that she will do whatever those propping her up tell her to do. It doesn’t matter if she is a woman or a man, if the show fits, wear it.

  39. At least now we know what that shoe logo on Sestak’s site was really all about — it’s the foot that he’ll put into his mouth at every opportunity.

  • Who are you voting for in the PA Supreme Court race?

    • Dan McCaffery (61%)
    • Carolyn Carluccio (37%)
    • Still undecided (2%)

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