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Stollsteimer Meets With Pelosi, Sestak Meets with Donors

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Washington Democrats are continuing their efforts to recruit former Safe Schools Advocate Jack Stollsteimer as a challenger to freshman Rep. Pat Meehan.

PoliticsPA has learned that earlier this month, Stollsteimer met in private meetings with former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“I am still in the process of assessing the race with my family and close friends,” said Stollsteimer. He confirmed that the meetings had taken place.

Dems began talking to Stollsteimer earlier this year; PoliticsPA broke the story in March. Before his work to combat violence in Philadelphia schools, he worked for Meehan in the Delaware County DA and U.S. Attorneys offices.

But it’s not a sure thing. Stollsteimer has said repeatedly that he will bow out of the race if former Congressman Joe Sestak decides to get in – a frank acknowledgment of the power of Sestak’s name ID and reputation in the district.

Speaking of Sestak, PoliticsPA has learned that former Congressman Joe Sestak is meeting with donors in the Philadelphia area over the next week.

They’re not fundraisers, says spokeswoman Greta Bednarcz.

“Joe first thanked the volunteers throughout the 67 counties, and then has been thanking contributors the past couple of months at similar events. This is finishing up the thank you gatherings for all of his supporters.”

The events will be held in Malvern, Radnor, Doylestown, Jenkintown and Philadelphia. There is no cost to attend.

“I wanted to end [the statewide tour] by hosting several ‘thank you’ gatherings for key local contributors in Philadelphia and the nearby counties to express my appreciation for what you did for my campaigns,” wrote Sestak in an email. “You were terrific to me — a sailor  —  and I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ in person to so many of you who have become friends.”

Nonetheless, a number of Democratic insiders are hoping Sestak will decide to run for his former seat. They believe his name ID in the district coupled with his track record of strong fundraising would make him a formidable candidate.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has actively recruited members who lost their re-election bids or left Congress in 2010 to run again in 2012.

Sestak has repeatedly eluded efforts by political observers to determine his next step.

Alas, reporters trying to guess what Joe Sestak is going to do is par for the course.

20 Responses

  1. after all this Sestak Bashing. has anyone thought about the republicans that got elected.

    the republicans screwed everything up over an 8 year period and gave the dems only 2 years to fix it.

    now that the republicans are in control, nothing much has changed since the last election has it?

    Arlen is a republican who never lost to toomey, but he switched parties because he knew he couldnt beat toomey on the republican side.

    Joe beat Arlen on his own. if the dems really wanted to have a democratic senator they could have done it but the financing wasnt there. the republicans have deep pockets and would have gladly poured millions more into the toomey campaign if they needed to.

    nothing will change, just more political rhetoric from the republicans blaming everyone but themselves. both sides need to grow up and start working for the people that elected them and put their own self serving interests aside.

    but they cant and wont.

  2. Whoever calls Joe Sestak “dishonorable” should be ashamed of themselves. The man served our country proudly for over three decades and continued to serve our country during his time in Congress. I worked as an intern in the Washington, DC office of Joe Sestak and bare witness to the reality that NO ONE will work as hard as he did for the people of Pennsylvania.

    He may not have always been a team player, but he was always a true leader.

  3. BTW- Here are the records that show Sestak was NOT the “single largest contributor” to the Delco Dems listed in their campaign finance reports:
    contrib_name | year | contrib1_amt | contrib1_date
    Sestak for Congress | 2007 | 1000 | 20071102
    Sestak for Congress | 2008 | 350 | 20080927
    Sestak for Congress | 2008 | 2500 | 20081103
    Sestak For Congress | 2009 | 500 | 20090430
    Sestak for Senate | 2010 | 600 | 20100506

    Not listed is $625 from 2008 for a sponsorship ad and 10 seats ($50 each) for a dinner. Not sure how it escaped Paul’s notice, but the $625 IS listed on Sestak’s 2008 FEC report.

    Contrast this with:

    contrib_name | year | contrib1_amt | contrib1_date
    BOB BRADY FOR CONGRESS | 2006 | 3000 | 20060504
    Bob Brady fo Congress | 2007 | 5000 | 20071019
    Friends of Rob McCord | 2008 | 4000 | 20080410
    Friends of Rob McCord | 2008 | 1176 | 20080422
    Bob Brady for Congress | 2008 | 500 | 20080918
    Friends of Rob McCord | 2008 | 2500 | 20081029

    So, as usual, it’s the Sestak supporters with the half-truths and innuendo and myself with the documentation. Of course, there is the added irony that the key documentation undercutting their claim was officially submitted by the very person attacking me.

  4. Paul (Scoles) –
    For those keeping track of the players, in addition to being the former Treasurer of the Delco Dems, Paul also ran for congress in the 7th district in 2004 (where I was helped his campaign with some web site work and setting up PayPal), and Paul was a former Chairman of the Haverford Twp. Dem Committee. And, yes, Paul is one of Joe’s biggest apologists (on par with a douche bag named Larry).

    As for my contributions to the Delco Dems, Paul’s poor record keeping failed to record my donation of a brand new computer to the Delco Dems or my acquisition of robo-call software to contact Delco Dems to attend fundraising events, as well as my frequent attendance at paid events, and contribution of database services to the party. Paul also leaves out my generous contributions to the Haverford Dems.

    As for Sestak’s contributions, Paul conveniently forgets how the Sestak campaign tried to be deadbeats for the April 2008 dinner event, and how Paul had to chase them down until late June to get paid the $625 owed (table plus ad sponsorship). Sestak’s late payment was even brought up at County leadership council treasury report as the only one from the event that wasn’t paid. The Sestak campaign finally paid, but back-dated the payment to April 10th on their FEC report to hide their lateness.
    That was one the nice thing about my paying in cash. You had the money in hand and you knew you were paid.
    As for Sestak’s “large” contributions to the committee, some were deferment for sample ballots containing Sestak’s name. Joe’s contributions were a small fraction of the contributions of Bob Brady and Rob McCord, despite the relative criticality of Delaware county to their respective campaigns. Relative to the amount of money raise, the Lentz campaign was also more generous to the Delco Dems than Sestak. Sestak himself is personally a millionaire, but all his contributions seem to come from his campaign account (ie other people’s money). My contributions are out of my own (non-millionaire) pocket.

    During the 2006 campaign, I complained to the Sestak field director that the campaign wasn’t coordinating with the St. Leg candidates for activities like joint lit drops. Her response was “F*ck the other candidates. I don’t care if they all lose. Joe’s the only one that matters.” This was pretty much the attitude of the other senior staff whenever the issue of helping other candidates was raised.
    I’ve seen no evidence that this attitude has changed in Sestak’s campaign style or staff selection process.

    As for Joe’s foreign policy positions. Sestak campaigned as an anti-war candidate and aggressively courted the peace movement in Delaware county. In 2006, Joe REPEATEDLY claimed how we should be out of Iraq in one year AND that timetables were the ONLY acceptable solution that he would vote for. Once Joe was elected, he started talking about “logistics” and how it would take years to get out of Iraq. Joe didn’t hold the line against Bush, but voted for Bush’s blank-check without timetables (twice). Joe’s proven to be another Joe Lieberman hawk.

    As for your points:
    1) Still not sure why jobless-Joe needs a secretary or a spokesperson. As for “most intelligent Democrats” hoping Joe will run, for what job, the congressional seat he abandoned or Governor?

    2) Donated space counts as in-kind contribution. Was there any food at these events? BTW, is Greta being paid out of Sestak’s own pocket or out of his Senate campaign funds? (since you made the point that Sestak’s not a candidate or running for office)
    I guess we’ll have to wait and see what’s on the FEC reports.

    3) My ring was a Christmas gift from my parents.

    4&5) Now you are trying to blame Ed and Arlen for not bringing Joe more donors? Joe was pretty clear that he didn’t need/want them when he gloated during Primary victory. Why should they have supported Sestak or had any faith in him when his campaign turned away former Specter supporters/staffers that offered to help?

    It was MY position that the DSCC abandon Joe completely (about time that Joe took one for the team) and focus that $10 million dollars on races where it could have made a difference. With that kind of money, a REAL liberal like Russ Feingold could have saturated his own media market and held his Senate seat. Without Joe’s attacks, and bleeding away Specter’s $10 million in the bank, Specter could have forced the GOP to spend more money in the race, draining it from other GOP Senate races.

    Sestak’s the one that owes the PA Dems an apology. Did you hear Sestak say that knowing the losing outcome he would do it all over again? What the f*ck is that? Gee, if I blew all those millions of dollars, I’d certainly wouldn’t do it all over again if I’d know the outcome. I’d give the other guy a chance. (BTW, Joe’s repeated that asinine statement about doing it over again, so it wasn’t just a mental fart on election night.)

    Joe’s a dishonorable man who has realized that government is a source of power and a paycheck, that gives him free reign to abuse the people working for him. Also, he’s learned to parrot the good ideas of liberal Dems to trick them into voting for him.

    BTW, thank you to the other Dem patriots who’ve defended me against the Sestak lemmings eager for another run off the cliff.

  5. Only in the delusional mind of Joe Sestak and his cult of minions like Paul would anybody ever think that Democrats owe him an apology.

    Democrats who live in the real world are giving Joe Sestak the middle finger.

  6. Did Sestak draft a memo for you to come and respond on this blog. The fact of the matter is that Sestak owes the Democratic Party of PA an apology. Sestak underminded the President, the Party Chairman, other elected Dems, and the hard working committee people who are the heart and soul of this party. Sestak went out and actually attack other Dems for supporting Arlen Specter who by the way was the better qualified candidate who has never lost to Toomey. This whole Joe Sestak movement is a bunch of hogwash and all he has ever done is get more Republicans elected.

    As far as Dave Diano is concerned I (and many other Dems across the state) applaud him for having the courage to speak out against the most self-serving and narcissistic blow-heart to ever be on a ticket. Joe Sestak is like the Sarah Palin of PA politics in being an annoying nuisance who won’t go away. If this guy ever runs for statewide office Dems will organize a movement against Sestak because those of us who serve in the best interest of the party don’t want him ruining another ticket like he did in 2010. We’ll go with Pat Murphy, Josh Shapiro, Rob McCord, Michael Nutter, Jack Wagner, Dan Onarato, and even Arlen Specter at age 105.

    Anybody but Sestak because the Democratic Party of PA is better of without him.

  7. I avoid blogs and bloggers as a rule, but my attention was brought to this one, and I’ve read the thread with something between amusement and annoyance. Rarely, outside of fund raising mailings from Republicans, have I read such a combination of aggressive ignorance, vindictiveness, and plain silliness as that which continues to inform the Diano Monologues.

    Diano started out as a strong supporter of Congressman Sestak. He became an implacable naysayer when Sestak did not sign on to Diano’s foreign policy which consisted of putting all American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on airplanes and bringing them home overnight. Sestak, based on 31 years of military, logistical, and national security experience, explained carefully and repeatedly why that was not possible, and indeed dangerous. Diano, whose military, national security and political expertise consists of trolling the web for any mention of Joe Sestak so that he can write a nasty reply within milliseconds, flew into a tantrum that has lasted for four years. You would think that by this time he would be as tired of it as the rest of us are of him. He seems to have waged a campaign of innuendo, half-truth, and outright falsehood ever since. I say “seems to have” because I don’t read his drivel as a rule. I have better things to do, such as, well, almost anything.

    This latest eruption is consistent with past performance. If Dave doesn’t know that most of the stuff he writes is either innuendo or utterly irrelevant, he’s witless. If he does, he’s disingenuous.
    Nevertheless, herewith the obvious answers to his rhetorical siiness:

    1. Greta Bednarcz is Joe’s secretary. She was promoted to “spokesperson” by Politics PA, probably because she answered the phone. Those who deal with actual human beings rather than computers frequently need the help of other people. More to the point, most of the intelligent Democrats in Delaware County hope that Joe will run, and are happy to see that he already has the beginnings of a staff in place

    2. There was no “cost to attend” because there was no cost to the events. There was no hint of a fundraising appeal. The space for the events was donated, and before Dave launches into a fit over that, it is entirely legal since Joe is no longer a Congressman and is not yet a candidate.

    3. Since Dave has suddenly become fashion conscious, Joe wore a light weight sports jacket over an open collar shirt. Joe earned his prop jacket by being the only non-flyer in the history of the Navy to command a carrier battle group. Unlike Dave’s Superman ring, it was not self awarded. It was given to him by the sailors and airmen under his command.

    4, & 5 : Joe lost a statewide race by a razor thin margin. He was careful to qualify his description of the numbers. To obsess on whether someone else’s margin was even thinner misses the forest for the twigs. He was in fact even or ahead in polling until the Republicans saturated the Philadelphia media market with anti-Sestak ads in the last week. Joe lost not because his campaign was unwinnable, but because large segments of the senior leadership of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party would rather see a Republican in that seat than a Democrat they had not selected. That’s why major Democratic donors, who largely follow instructions from Ed and Arlen, sat on their wallets. At the event which I attended (and I suspect Dave didn’t attend any of them) Joe apologized for not winning the race and the universal sentiment in the room was that it was the PA Democratic Party which should be apologizing to him for it’s lukewarm support and frequent outright hostility.

    Diano has long held the position that it is the responsibility of candidates who work to raise money to pay for the campaigns of those who won’t raise money for themselves. Throughout his campaign and his congressional terms, Congressman Sestak was the largest single contributor to the Delaware County Democratic party. Diano’s contributions were always event related, and at minimal levels. I was the treasurer of the party during much of that time, and I saw the checks, or in Diano’s case, the cash.

    To continue this, however, would risk adopting the pettiness that is the hallmark of Dave’s blogging.

    In the end, Joe Sestak is an honorable man with good ideas, a belief in the ability of government to effect positive change, and a lifelong commitment to public service, a record none of those who fulminate and drivel against him in blogs can match. The fact that he is unwilling to conform to the dictates of a party leadership which is increasingly power hungry and oligarchic, while at the same time being ineffective and out of touch with its membership seems to me to reflect the sentiments of most Pennsylvania Democrats and to be absolutely the right thing to do.

  8. The Admiral’s campaign shipwrecked in the southwest counties and it costed Sestak dearly. It was definitely fitting though… as Joe went to the left to win the primary and for doing so the moderate dems made the Admiral walk the plank. Even more fitting was his close loss… just desserts for the way he treated the western committees.

    “Our by-laws state each candidate is to pay an assessment for election expenses. By Joe Sestak not paying his share, a burden is placed on the other candidates and on the Beaver County Democratic Party Committee. If we would have overlooked Joe Sestak not paying at the time the ballot was produced and mailed, we would be violating our by-laws and would be setting a precedent for future endorsed candidates not to pay….”

    Maybe next time (hopefully there wont be one) Joe will get with the program. Is Joe going to run for Jim Webbs seat???

  9. Thank you David Diano for exposing Joe Sestak for the fraud that he really ism

    Joe is no Liberal. Joe is no Democrat.

    He’s a self-serving ego-maniac who was fired from the Navy for being a tyrant.

    While he was in Congress his staff turnover rate was among the highest in the House because he was a piss-poor boss who paid his workers below minimum wage.

    Thank you David Diano for exposing the fact that Joe Sestak actually lives in Virginia and that his wife is a registered voter in Virginia.

    Thank you David Diano for exposing this disgrace of a human being Joe Sestak who lacks class, honor and dignity.

    Say what you want about Arlen Specter but he was a damn good middle of the road Senator who never lost to Pat Toomey. If given the choice we’d be better off if Sestak had just stayed put in the 7th. Thanks to Joe Sestak putting up his middle finger to the Democratic we now stuck with terrible Republicans in Congress like Pat Toomey and Pat Meehan.

    Joe Sestak gave up his seat in the House and he doesn’t deserve another chance at being elected to public office in the state of Pennsylvania.


  10. Roger- A lot of people thought Specter would beat Sestak (who trailed in the polls up until the last few weeks of the primary).

    However, I did warn (back in April of 2009) that a primary fight between Sestak and Specter would leave both financial devastated, drain the party of resources needed for other fights, and that Sestak could not beat Toomey.
    To beat Specter for the Primary, Sestak had to run to the Left. This allowed Toomey to capture the center. Specter, on the other hand, owned the center and had spent years in opposition research to expose Toomey as to the Right-of-Santorum. If Sestak’s hadn’t attacked Specter, and had bothered to actually help, Specter might have won with a united Dem party. Unfortunately, Sestak’s ego and ambition came first.
    Once Sestak won the Primary, my hope to was warn the party against wasting $10 millions dollars on an unwinnable race, and spread the $10 million to other Senate races so we could keep Senators like Russ Feingold. So, Sestak not only screwed the PA Dems, but screwed over the national party (not to mention the trouble Sestak caused for Obama over a supposed job offer).
    Joe’s “tight circle” was due to his plans to screw over all the other Dems on the ticket. For example, in Delaware county, he screwed over Lentz and others by distributing “GOTV door knockers” with ONLY Sestak, while the understaffed Lentz team was going door-to-door with literature for the ENTIRE ticket. Joe took “Democrat” off his t-shirts and put the word “Admiral” there instead. Only Joe’s tight inner circle could tolerate his ego and selfishness. Loyal Democrats interested in the Party and the ticket weren’t invited as team Sestak was more than happy to target Republican voters that would vote for Joe but no other Dems on the ticket.

    Janet- I’m speaking FOR Democrats who have seen through the lies and phoniness of Sestak and TO those that still need to remove their blinders and see Sestak for the blight he has been on the party.

  11. Diano, I hope you don’t think you are speaking for all Democrats in PA. If so , you are wrong. Get a life or become a Republican, if you aren’t already. J. Spleen in Lancaster

  12. Here we go again with Diano and his personal vendetta against Sestak. His tirades have gone on for years and his opinion is as irrelevant as Harold Camping’s. Diano is no more objective than Rick Santorum.

    I didn’t always agree with Sestak in the way he ran his campaign, but I understood why he did it. As was stated earlier, the PA Democrats loaded every gun to go against him and Joe simply wasn’t sure who to trust. As a result, he had a very tight circle. Agree with that strategy or not, it is justifiable.

    As to the ridiculous comment of it being an “unwinnable race,” Diano clearly doesn’t understand how elections can turn on a dime. Diano also predicted Spector was going to beat Sestak in the primary. So much for him knowing everything.

    Cocky and arrogant = Diano. Take his opinion with a grain of salt. Remember, it’s a personal vendetta against Sestak and has been for years.

  13. “Brave”?
    — Was it “brave” to screw over the other Dems on the ticket?
    — Was it “brave” to claim he was offered a high ranking job (and not dismiss questions about it being Sec of Navy for which he was not even eligible)?
    — Was it “brave” to drop the word “Democrat” from his ads and t-shirts?
    — Was it “brave” to take $3 million he raised under the deception of holding the 7th district and throw it away on his senate race?
    — Was it “brave” to vote to fund Cheney’s office, vote for warrantless wiretaps, vote twice to give Bush a blank check, and vote for Telecom immunity? (these votes seem rather the opposite of brave and the right thing)

  14. My name says it all.

    I will add that Thx but no Thx Joe, that the Den party prostituted themselves with Arlen. Joe was brave and did the right thing. He was the best constituent worker I have seen in the 7th unless you were Russian mafia, then Weldon gets the honor.

  15. There’s a reason that Sestak is staging “thank you supporters” events, but no one in the party is hosting “thank you Sestak”.

    I would love to host a “***k you Sestak” event.

  16. Hey Joe! You lost the race and you alienated your fellow Democrats along the way. Politics is a team sport and the one thing that came out of 2010 is that Joe Sestak in NOT a team player. All of these Joe Sestak “thank you” tours makes the guy look like a side-show clown similar to Sarah Palin.

    I pray that Joe Sestak is NOT on the ticket in 2012 because all he ever does is bring down other Democrats. Joe and his “ME FIRST” attitude helps Republicans elected in 2010. He brought down the whole dam ticket last time around and if given another chance he’ll do it again.

    Democrats need to band together and tell Joe to stay away because he’s a parasite on the party. This time around let’s sned Joe back home to Virginia because we don’t want him ruining things here in PA.




  17. Questions
    1) Why does Joe need a “spokesperson” if he’s not running?
    Seriously, do Lentz, Doug Pike, or Manny Trivedi have spokespeople answering questions for them?

    2) “There is no cost to attend” So, how is this being paid for? Is this a legal use of Federal Campaign funds? (FEC quarter ends this month, so we’ll know by mid-July what he’s spending on this)

    3) Temperatures will be in the 80’s. Will Joe wear his “prop” jacket?

    4) Is Joe going to thank the donors for their foolhardiness in pissing away millions of dollars on an unwinnable race, while leaving the other candidates to fend for themselves and using their money to pay for T-shirts and commercials that dropped Joe’s “Democrat” label? (I’m guessing that Joe will leave that part out.)

    5) Is Sestak going to REPEAT THE LIE that he had a closer margin of loss than the other Dems who lost? (two Dem St. Leg races were closer
    104th Leg
    HELM, SUSAN C. SUE (REP) 50.7
    STILP, GENE (DEM) 49.3

    156th Leg
    TRUITT, DAN (REP) 50.5

  18. The whole reason Sestak ran for Senate in the first place was that he didn’t like being a backbencher in the House. He was known as a lone wolf in the House and didn’t play nice with his fellow members of the Dem Caucus.

    He’s not going to put his political career on the line for a 50-50 shot of beating Meehan (who already has a nice bankroll and will be playing on friendlier turf thanks to redistricting) to go back to a job he wanted out of after only 4 years in office.

    Besides, looking at Sestak’s statewide efforts, it looks more like he’s interested in Governor or Senate.

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