PA-Sen: Sestak Receives Lukewarm Support but No Challenges From PA Democrats
Sestak ran for the Senate seat in 2010, but lost the race by two percentage points to Republican Pat Toomey. He has already started campaigning for a 2016 rematch, but has yet to solidify support from Keystone State Democrats.
Senior U.S. Senator Bob Casey told Roll Call that it is “too early” to project any winners or losers for the 2016 election, but that he believes 2016 will “better than 2014” for his party. Meanwhile, outgoing Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz commended Sestak for his showing in the 2010 elections, but maintains that the Democratic primary is up for grabs as new names spark voter attention.
Sestak faced tough opposition in 2010 from incumbent Senator Arlen Specter, whose switch from moderate Republican to the Democratic Party split support for the two candidates in the primary elections. Sestak eventually beat Specter in a pricey primary fight, despite not having the support of President Obama or former Governor Ed Rendell who at one point said that Sestak would “get killed” if he ran against Specter.
Gearing up for 2016, however, if Sestak wins the primary, he and Toomey will be set for a rematch—a first in Pennsylvania history.
Sestak nonetheless welcomes a challenge in the 2016 Democratic primaries, saying that “I think anybody who wants to get in should get in.”
Potential candidates, though, like State Treasurer Rob McCord and Tom Wolf’s recently announced Chief of Staff Katie McGinty have taken themselves out of the race. Congressman Matt Cartwright, a close friend of Sestak’s, also offered an empathetic ‘no’ to joining the race. Schwartz, who just lost a gubernatorial bid, also declined to run.
The two Democratic contenders everyone is watching are Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro. Kane, however, has seen her popularity decrease and Shapiro has yet to firmly indicate whether he’ll jump in.