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PA-Sen: Sestak’s Primary Fortunes Debated on MSNBC (VIDEO)

Any publicity is good publicity, right?

Joe Sestak found himself as the center of discussion on MSNBC’s The Briefing with Luke Russert on Friday morning.

Manu Raju, Politico’s senior congressional reporter, joined Russert on his show to discuss Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat, which is up for grabs next year.

Russert started the segment by saying “some Democrats think [Republicans] have got a problem in one potential pick-up opportunity in Pennsylvania.”

The host described Toomey as a “fairly conservative guy” with “conservative bona fides.”

“He’s certainly no Arlen-Specter Republican, if you will,” Russert quipped.

Sestak won the Democratic nomination for Senate in 2010, after winning his primary against incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter. Specter had switched parties in 2009 after facing pressure from conservatives in the GOP.

“It’s a really wild dynamic,” Raju said. “Remember, Sestak only lost to Toomey by 2 points in that midterm year.”

While there is reason for Sestak supporters to be optimistic, Raju said there is “some fear among Democratic leaders, especially in Washington … that Joe Sestak just does not run a modern, conventional campaign that you need to run in a state like Pennsylvania, one of the most expensive states in the country.”

“You’re going to need a highly sophisticated voter targeting effort, voter identification, get out the vote. You need to raise a ton of money,” Raju said. “That’s not his skill set. What he’s been doing instead, he’s been walking across the state. 422 miles.”

Russert called Sestak “Forrest Gump” before talking about how Democratic operatives, “who usually stay mute,” like to rip on Sestak. “They hate him. They think he’s awful. They think he’s a weirdo,” Russert said.

The Democratic nominee in the race against Toomey should have a good chance in the general election, with a strong candidate, presumably Hillary, at the top of the ticket, Raju contended.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski has also started his campaign for the nomination, but Raju said there are worries about his ability to finance an effective primary campaign.

Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro has shot down rumors he was about to enter the race, even after being personally urged by Senators Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and Jon Tester.

“Harry Reid, Jon Tester, Chuck Schumer, all against this guy,” Russert concluded. “If he pulls it off, more power to him. He would be fascinating in the Senate.”

11 Responses

  1. thee philly boys were mad as hell when he defeated arlen in the primary. get over it and help make him a winner we can all be proud of unless all you care about is your political power

  2. If the Democratic bosses in PA are such a good arbiter of what makes a great candidate, how come they lost SO many seats in last year’s races, with an unpopular Republican governor up for re-election? I don’t trust the party’s pick for anything-and if they don’t like Joe, that’s one more reason for the rest of us to support him.

  3. tommyd-
    A lot people think he’s weird (more so the more they know him). But, my point was that he comes off so terribly side-by-side with Toomey, that debates actually hurt him.

    Joe does not give a rat’s ass about the voters. When he voted for the Iraq War funding (against his promises), and was chastised by the peace movement voters he had courted, he basically told them that only his opinion/judgement mattered.

    Sestak wants a fancy title next to his name. If you think he cares about the voters, you have completely misread him. When I talk to former staffers, they all say the same thing (with disgust): “It’s all about Joe”.

    Sestak is going around talking about how people reading his book can hold him accountable if he’s elected. But, he’s only going to run for one term, and not face the voters again for a second term. So, he won’t be held accountable.

  4. Joe Sestak has demonstrated in his 2007-2011 Pennsylvania 7th Congressional District record, thirty years in the United States Navy including commanding the USS George Washington carrier strike group during combat operations in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean in 2002, Director for Defense on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, Pennsylvania 2010 US Senate primary victory and losing by only two percent vote US Senate 2010 to Toomey that he is A MAN OF AND FOR THE PEOPLE NOT POLITICAL BOSSES and that he will be the next US senator from Pennsylvania.

  5. Sestak represents an aggressive form of change and one that the established leaders fear. He will not be beholden to them, and they don’t like that. Over the past years I have learned to know and respect Joe – and that has been a long process. As was said by tommyd, he cares about voters and they care about him. That’s what should matter, not what the good old boys in power think.

  6. One lady you met thought he was weird? And this means what? Sestak has visited our little town several times and all had a positive impression.

  7. tommyd-

    Actually, voter do think he is weird. In 2010, one of the women (a voter) at my office saw Sestak for the first time when he debated Toomey and that was exactly her assessment of him. (She also used the word “creepy”.)

    As for the political operatives, a lot of them have actually met him, worked for him or know people who have worked for him. So, they have a lot more information about him than the voters.

  8. Political operative may think Sestak is a “weirdo,” but voters don’t think that at all. And a Senator should care about voters, not political operatives.

  9. Jason, he didn’t merely “shoot down rumors.” He said he wasn’t going to run.

  10. “He would be fascinating in the Senate.”

    … like an overflowing toilet is fascinating.

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