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PA-Sen: Sestak Kicks Off 2016 Campaign in Philadelphia

Sestak-Independence HallEarlier today, Joe Sestak announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate outside of Independence Hall in Center City Philadelphia, setting up a rematch with current U.S. Senator Pat Toomey.

Notably, Sestak was dressed in very casual attire, sporting jeans, a green military jacket and a pair of old Reebok sneakers, which, by the way, now have their own Twitter account.

Sestak also announced his “Joe Sestak is Walking in Your Shoes” campaign, in which he plans to walk across the state of Pennsylvania, from the Eastern-most border to the Western-most border, with a variety of different groups of people each day, including women, veterans, and the homeless. Upon the announcement, Sestak took off his Reeboks, replaced them with brown walking boots, and set off walking towards New Jersey to start the statewide trek.

In Sestak’s favor, Larry Sabato has rated Pennsylvania as one of three toss-up Senate contests in 2016.

Additionally, while several alternatives have been floated, no one else has jumped into the Democratic primary.

Finally, Republicans had a field day when it was discovered Sestak’s website hadn’t launched by the time of his event, although it went online shortly thereafter.

Update: According to Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal, Sestak did not tell anyone from the DSCC that he would be officially declaring his candidacy today.

32 Responses

  1. The sneaker site is pretty sad. The “sneakers” are following 106 users (include Joe and a bunch of reporters), but has only 47 followers (Joe is not one of them). So, Joe’s sneakers are following him, but he’s not following them.

    This seems more like bad reality show: non-Amazing Race where contestants have to take pictures of their shoes every 10 miles. The contestant who doesn’t kill themselves from the sheer stupidity of it wins.

    I’m no fan of Toomey, but Toomey at least has class and comes off as dignified. (He’s wrong on the issues, but he’s got self respect.) Sestak just keeps behaving like a clown. These sort of stunts are more appropriate for a local township council race, than a statewide Senate campaign (that is not on the radar of voters nor covered much by newspapers, so it’s an even bigger time waster).

    What is Toomey doing while Sestak is walking (and being followed by staffer in car)? Probably making donor phone calls, laughing his ass off about how much time Sestak is wasting, and praying that no Dems challenge Sestak in the Primary.

    If I was Toomey, I’d probably send my own staffer to get some footage of Sestak (and staffer) staging the photos/videos and doing re-takes. In one of the videos Joe’s already done, there are tracks in the snow from a previous take of him walking up a street toward the camera.

  2. I just read the update and saw his website. I’m convinced this is not a real candidacy. Too bad. I was really looking forward to the swiftboating.

  3. I saw it 2 miles away, which is why I tried to politely suggest that he/she would find time spent here unsatisfying.

  4. Tom K. You are not alone in what you saw/experienced.

    Warrior- So, basically, you were in charge of making sure the boat got a fresh coat of paint, and that the deck was cleaned. In the civilian world, that’s call Head Janitor/Custodian. Oh, excuse me, Head Sanitary and Maintenance Engineer. You were about as much a “warrior” as the ship’s cook.

    You are clearly a rural conservative Republican nutjob, who recognizes a kindred spirit in a closet conservative like Sestak. Your comments about Philadelphia (birthplace of liberty, first capital of US, etc.) show how clueless you are. You sound a bit racist as well using “poor” when you obviously mean “black”. Rizzo was the most ignorant and racist Mayor in recent history. The cops were even more thuggish under his rule, especially to blacks. Rizzo would have fit in well in Ferguson.

    But, THANKS for the pictures. That was a great night, and I didn’t know there were any pictures from it.

  5. Birds of a feather flock together. I could see this one a mile away. Remembering now when my dad reached a certain age. Of course, he was an SOB while in service too.

    Posting anonymously is a privilege on this board. I hope it doesn’t get screwed up by personal attacks on individuals with the balls to post under their real name.

    The 1st Amendment has limits, but regardless, PoliticsPA is not a free-for-all. Now, I think David’s ideas are bat-dung crazy, but he explains himself well and doesn’t deserve to have to look over his shoulder for Sestak sycophants.

  6. Diano, Save your fancy Eldridge quote for the ISIS kooks. What is it you do exactly for a living? I’m a retired Master Chief Boatswains Mate with 40 years of fleet service punk. Oooohhhh, I see…,a quick google search of you turns up that you are a demo activist out of Filthadelphia[by the way home of the poorest people in the State of Pennsylvania!]- a sewer that the dems have turned into a blackhole where millions in aid to that city have been squandered and appropriated by the corrupt Philly democrat machine. Philly was a much better place under the likes of Mayor Rizzo than with little pipsqueeks like you running around shooting their mouths off. Here’s a nice photo of you in Eastern PA…,
    Good luck with your political endeavors, however you have a knack for really pissing people off. This is the end of this thread from this end. Sayonara.

  7. Warrior-

    No. FIRST hand experience. I’ve seen him scream, yell, huff & puff like a completely irrational nutcase, JUST like Captain Queeg. Saw the look in his eyes. He’s a few ants short of a picnic. It was hard not to laugh at him because it was obvious he was so used to abusing his rank that he couldn’t understand that as a civilian, he doesn’t outrank anyone. This is why he’s lost so many good people. He’s completely out of touch and treats everyone like crap.

    Also, Sestak is NOT the candidate the Dems need to push for minimum wage increases. We need a candidate who actually has paid his staff at or above minimum hourly wage. Sestak paid many on his congressional staff less then they would have made working at McDonald’s or Walmart the same number of hours for minimum wage.

    Sestak is EXACTLY the kind of boss that unions were formed to protect workers from. If the Navy had a union, his entire crew would have gone on strike.

    Yeah, Sestak served. But, once he got too much power, he served poorly and was relieved of duty for it. Not by some “lowly civilian”, but by Admiral Mullen, as swiftly as he could. Not every military officer treats their staff/crew with the proper respect. Since you are claiming/pretending to have served, you should be MORE concerned about how Sestak treated your fellow servicemen under his command.

    A quote: “A man’s character is most evident by how he treats those who are not in a position either to retaliate or reciprocate.” -Paul Eldridge (1948)

  8. Hey Diano-What is it with the Sestak-Captain Queeg fixation you seem to be obsessed with? Having NEVER served in the military means YOU have NO CLUE as to what goes on within a command structure. You and all the other political crybabies like Unsanctioned R talk smack about someone based on SECOND HAND information NOT FROM personal experience. You and your fellow crybabies parrot a bunch of disparaging personal attacks when it suits your agenda.

    As far as Josh Shapiro goes, Oy Vey, another Montgomery County, Eastern Pennsylvania Democrat rubber stamp ready to be sent to Harrisburg or D.C. to bring home the bacon. He has a big war chest and when he sees his opportunity, he’ll swoop down like the political vulture he is and snatch his prey.

    There is nothing more that I can say to you dimwits. Have a nice life. Armchair warriors, Fairweather patriots.

  9. Berg-
    Shapiro is a FAR better candidate and public servant than Sestak. He’s also a team player, supporting his running mates and entire ticket. He’s also a REAL Democrat, who actually believes in Dem/progressive principles, rather than a closet-Republican like Sestak who just memorized Dem talking points.

    If Sestak is the best the party has to offer, it should be disbanded. We don’t want Toomey, but we don’t want Sestak either. None of the above, if those are the only two choices in the entire state.

    Since when is serving in the military a criteria for expressing an opinion, particularly about the qualifications, ability, character, temperament, honesty, integrity, viability, trustworthiness, style, positions, history, etc. of candidate?
    Face it, Sestak is a serial-abuser of his staff/underlings. He was relieved of duty by Admiral Mullen for a “poor command climate”, and continued this behavior in the past 8.5 years as a civilian, with both his campaign and congressional staffs. He’s a total pr*ck who is interested in his own ego/ambition and having a fancy title next to his name and people to boss around. I’ve seen him yell (and strut while doing it), and he is just a sadist who gets off on abusing people to make himself feel superior. He’s completely unfit for duty, military or civilian. He got away with it in the military until it was so bad that Mullen had to remove him from duty.

    He’s more than “temperamental and demanding” he’s UNREASONABLY so. He can’t keep qualified staff and has to scrap the bottom of the barrel for people who can’t get work elsewhere or don’t have enough self-respect. Talk to former staffers. I have. Joe has failed the test of “character” many times over in the past 8.5 years.
    Even in the Caine Mutiny, they praised Queeg’s former service, until he lost his mind.

    Toomey is terrible, but his lack of military service is hardly a strike against him. By that criteria, you would have picked Bush over Clinton.

    Actually, Sestak’s military service works against him because he IS a hawk. He ran as a dove in 2006 and lied to every supporter in the peace movement. He fully funded Bush twice on Iraq, without the criteria of timetables and accountability that he promised he would insist on. Sestak is more like to vote for military action than Toomey.

    Toomey can certainly put together good commercials against Sestak. I still think it will come down to presidential coattails rather than the candidates as the deciding factor. In a non-presidential year, Sestak would not have a chance against an incumbent like Toomey who is VERY sharp politically and crushes Sestak in debates.

    Also, Sestak will be 65 years old when the 2017 term starts. If he won (..shudder..), how many terms would he serve? One? Then we’d have an open seat in 2022.

    We are better off with a younger, REAL Dem, who actually lives in PA and who can serve more than one term if elected.

  10. David,
    “This has to be the least efficient use of a candidate’s time I’ve ever heard of.” My first thought exactly. It’s as if he’s campaigning as an excuse to take a long walk.

    Plenty of civilians formerly under Rep. Sestak’s “command” and making life and death decisions answering constituent mail know his character all too well.

  11. Dave Diano is waging a one man war on Sestak. Take his comments with a grain of salt. This “know it all”, NEVER served in the military. As far as the Navy Times report goes. he had a reputation as a “temperamental and demanding boss” – I ask you what military commander does not have these attributes when you have the responsibility for the lives of thousands and billions in equipment you are responsible for. While Sestak had a career in the US Navy commanding men and ships, where was Toomey? Setting up his “Club For Growth” with his pal Rick Santorum. The Choice is clear, a man’s man or a milk toast like Toomey.

  12. @Berg… all the Republicans have to do is run ads like these…

    “What has Joe Sestak done for you lately? What has Joe Sestak done for you the past 6 years while Pat Toomey is fighting for Pennsylvania families as your Senator?”

    “While Joe Sestak has spent the last 6 years on a never ending political campaign, Pennsylvania’s Senator Pat Toomey has been governing and putting Pennsylvanians back to work!”

    “National Journal, PoliticsPA, Politico, Political Wire all say Democrats didn’t want Sestak, they wanted someone else, but now they settled on a stale candidate with the same old political rhetoric and campaign gimmicks. Pat Toomey is a Senator for all Pennsylvanians and has been leading and governing while Joe Sestak plays political games.”

    This can go on and on and on and on and on and on… need I mention all the campaign ads that already ran in 2010… i.e. Joe Sestak relived of duty due to a poor command climate… or having the worst attendance in Congress out of the PA delegation… or creating a poor work environment for his staff etc.

    Joe Manchin endorses Pat Toomey…

    And then comes election day…

    2000 – Al Gore Wins PA and Rick Santorum wins a second term:
    RON KLINK (D) 45%

    2016 – Hillary Wins PA and Pat Toomey wins a second term:
    PAT TOOMEY (R) 52%
    JOE SESTAK (D) 45%


  13. There goes David D – he just can’t help it? A few thoughts-
    Sesrak served his country – where was Toomey
    Sestak maybe less than perfect but Toomey is clueless and no Reagan
    Sestak is far better than Toomey or that wimp Shapiro –
    He has guts they are just party hacks

  14. I just saw a YouTube video of Sestak’s walking gimmick. Pathetic. He was better off 9 years ago handing out flyers at the train station in the morning. This has to be the least efficient use of a candidate’s time I’ve ever heard of.

    He’s not Reese Witherspoon from the movie Wild.

    He looks more like a homeless vet in search of a soup kitchen. Gimmicks and amateur hour campaigning. No one on the street to talk to. No one walking with him. No buttons, stickers, signs, or symbology for the “cause”. Empty slogan, and no one around is not bringing attention to anything.

    No one is paying attention to 2016 Senate race, nor going to follow this ill conceived trek.

    Who is the poor staffer stuck filming this disaster?

  15. Sestsk isn’t great but one term Toomey is a terrible alternative. He nominated
    That hapless buffoon Mitch McConnell for majority leader. He was on the panel that
    Was prepared to cave to Obama and raise
    Taxes on middle class. I’ll take Joe and his arrogance over a relic of greed and the past like one term Toomey. At least Rick Santorum had core values – Toomey is just political sleaze

  16. The last time Pennsylvania had a Republican incumbent US Senator seeking a second term who was “suppose to lose” because it was a presidential election year, he won! He won for the same reasons Pat Toomey will win against Sestak, Democrats ran a stale, phony candidate.

    RON KLINK (D) 45%

    You could easily switch out Santorum’s name for Toomey’s and Klink’s for Sestak’s and you’ll have the exact same result in 2016.

    Democrats wake up!! We can do better than running a stale candidate with the same old rhetoric and a gimmicky, amateurish campaign slogan.

  17. It’s interesting that David Diano complains about Sestak telling the same old stories again and again while he launches the same old attacks against Sestak again and again.

    We’ve heard you Diano. We know that Sestak is the absolute worst thing to happen to humanity since Milli Vanilli was caught lip-synching and lost their Grammy.

    Please for the love of all things holy give it a rest, David.

  18. Read this about Sestak from Sept 2007

  19. Jon

    It’s true that Sestak and his shtick are getting tired and weaker. He had more energy/enthusiasm in 2006. But, he has no new stories from the navy or Clinton Whitehouse, and keeps telling the same ones over and over again. I feel like shooting myself rather than hear them one more time. He’s stuck telling them for another year or more. I’m sure there’s a place in Hell where some group of sinners has to listen to tapes of his speeches.

    He’s got nothing but “gimmicks” and his campaign theme of restoring trust is about as exciting and unoriginal as the tapioca pudding they serve you at a hospital.

    But, as far as electability he’s got a shot because of the presidential year turnout and coattails, rather than anyone wanting him specifically. They should poll Toomey against “unnamed democrat”.

  20. This is hysterical. The rollout was terrible, Sestak looked terrible, and he’s still rocking the same old jacket thinking its going to win him votes. How are we supposed to vote for someone who has done nothing the past 6 years but hang out and wait to run against Toomey and this is the best he can do?

    Democrats, you can do better than this, can’t you? Toomey by 5-7 points…

  21. Matt

    It IS in context, because he dragged her from home to Philly to stand there like a prop who is “supporting” him running against Toomey for a rematch, BUT she didn’t even vote for him in the first match.

  22. “[his wife] didn’t vote for him the last 4 times his name was on the ballot.”

    I know it’s out of context, but that’s still really funny.

  23. Shoes and jackets. Sestak always needs props. His dog would beat him in a primary.

    Usually, he uses his family. His wife lives in Virginia and dropped her temporary PA voter registration as soon as Joe was elected in 2006. She didn’t vote for him the last 4 times his name was on the ballot (twice each in 2008 & 2010).

    As for “set off walking towards New Jersey to start the statewide trek”, he might as well keep traveling to Jersey, since he doesn’t live there either.

    This is the same crap Santorum pulled, owning a house in PA, but wife/kids living in Virginia.

  24. The caption should read:

    Three tourists from Virginia visit Independence mall.

  25. How is this news? He’s been running for 6 years now. He never stopped.

    This is an embarrassing campaign roll out. Recycled photos and logo from 2010 campaign.

    His link to “Live Stream” the “event” didn’t even work.

    Hardly anyone attended the event and press coverage has been extremely poor.

    Toomey will beat Sestak… Again!

  26. Ready for Josh,

    Everyone else calls Josh Shapiro “A GIANT DOUCHE” — every day

  27. Montgomery County Commissioner and former State Rep. Josh Shapiro is the best candidate to defeat Pat Toomey in 2016!!

    Politico calls Josh Shapiro “THE BEST BET FOR DEMOCRATS” – 12/29/14

    Roll Call Says Josh Shapiro is “A STRONG CONTENDER” – 12/4/14

    Throughout his service to our great commonwealth Josh Shapiro has forged bipartisanship, led a turnaround in one of Pennsylvania’s most populated counties, reduced overall debt and eliminated a large budget deficit. He did all of this and more while making the lives of Pennsylvania’s hard working, middle class families better.

    Like “READY FOR JOSH SHAPIRO” on Facebook at:

  • Reader Poll: Should President Joe Biden Step Aside?

    • Yes. He should step aside because of his age, declining ability to do the job. (45%)
    • No. He should not step aside. (39%)
    • Yes. He should step aside because he can't beat Donald Trump. (15%)

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