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Ten Answers from Tuesday’s Election

Voting-boothOn Sunday, we asked ten questions about the upcoming primary election. It only seems fair to use yesterday’s results to answer those queries.

The Democratic Party Followed Its Leader

The support of President Barack Obama still means quite a lot in a Democratic primary.

Besides the presidential race, where Hillary Clinton is widely considered Obama’s favorite, the President also saw his personal choices emerge victorious in down ballot races.

Katie McGinty’s late surge perfectly coincided with her endorsement from the President which she made sure to advertise heavily. Pres. Obama also reached out to long-time friend Josh Shapiro in his successful run for the Democratic nomination Attorney General.

Both candidates ran up large margins in Philly suggesting the President’s support had a large effect there.

The Democrats Finally Defeated Joe Sestak

We mean that quite literally, as it took an Avengers-like team-up to bring the indefatigable ex-Admiral down.

As mentioned above, President Obama endorsed McGinty. Vice President Biden and Senator Casey campaigned for her down the stretch. Governor Wolf and every prominent Democratic official in PA supported her (not to mention all the national Democrats, including powerful legislators like Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer).

In the end, though, it may have been John Fetterman who truly brought down Sestak.

The Braddock Mayor surprised many by outperforming his polls and pulling in 20%. Fetterman split the outsider vote and did extremely well in western PA (he even won Allegheny County).

Even Joe Vodvarka did his best to take down Sestak after that whole ballot issue.

As the Inquirer’s Maddie Hanna noted, Sestak left the stage after his concession speech to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”. A fitting departure for the iconoclast.

The Unbound Republican Delegates Are Likely to Be Trump Supporters

One of the biggest questions marks coming into Tuesday was what would the 54 unbound Republican delegates do?

Well, by our own count 32 of them are Trump supporters while just three back Ted Cruz. Additionally, another nine said they would go with the winner in their district. Of course, Trump won almost all the districts yesterday.

At this moment, PA’s unbound delegates look more likely to help Trump reach the 1,237 nomination threshold than they are to deny him a first-ballot win at the convention.

Hillary Beat Donald

Not really, but when it came down to who got more votes, Secretary Clinton finished with 913,654 while Mr. Trump received 888,578.

Sure, Democrats have higher voter registration numbers than Republicans but Rust Belt states have been a central component of the argument that Trump can defeat Clinton in a general election.

It also contributes to one of Hillary’s favorite talking points as she has now received 12.13 million votes compared to Donald’s 10.05 million.

Pennsylvania Ended the Democratic Presidential Primary…Sort Of

Pennsylvania was not Clinton’s only victory on Tuesday.

She also won Maryland, Connecticut and Delaware while Sanders just took Rhode Island. More importantly, Clinton gained a net of 64 pledged delegates.

Last night, Bernie Sanders pledged to fight “until the last vote is cast” but seemed more focused on affecting the party’s platform than taking the nomination. Then this afternoon, it was revealed that his campaign is letting go of hundreds of staffers.

So, as we predicted, Sanders will continue running but any remaining drama is pretty much gone.

Bernie’s Revolution Never Came…

“I just don’t know enough about John.”

That was Sanders’ response when asked why he hadn’t endorsed John Fetterman, the man who had already endorsed him.

That moment perfectly epitomized the Vermont Senator’s central weakness. He wants to lead a revolution, but he doesn’t know how to build a network of support.

Looking at the results, it’s quite possible that Fetterman would’ve had a real chance if he got a Bernie boost early on.

…But Hillary’s Might

In her victory speech, the newly-minted Democratic nominee Katie McGinty made her general election strategy crystal clear.

She used the phrase “Trump-Toomey” seven times, signaling that she will try to nationalize this race as much as possible. Given the GOP front-runner’s comments about women, moreover, “Hillary-Katie” might be quite appealing to female voters.

This is particularly damaging for Sen. Toomey as he has made a conscious effort to reach out to female moderates (his background check bill is the most prominent example) while assuming his base will follow him. With a presidential nominee like Trump, however, the base will become more agitated and a polarized electorate in November would be bad for a Republican incumbent in a blue state.

Philly’s True Power-Broker

Despite all the hype, John Dougherty doesn’t appear to be the all-powerful political boss his critics make him out to be.

Amid allegations of a deal to get Stephen Zappala the AG Democratic nomination, Dougherty went so far as to release a letter defending himself (and advocating for his candidate).

It didn’t work, though, and not even the help of Bob Brady mattered as Shapiro ran up the score in Philadelphia.

Obviously the support of President Obama and Governor Rendell was important, but one also has to wonder if perhaps City Council President Darrell Clarke is the real power-broker in the City of Brotherly Love.

Fattah Falls

Chaka Fattah is the first incumbent Congressman to lose in a primary this year. Twenty-nine indictments will do that to you.

Long-time State Rep. Dwight Evans emerged victorious, finally getting an electoral promotion after several different attempts.

Turns out the voters in PA-2 wanted an experienced politician, just not one embroiled in scandal.

Shuster Survives

At last we come to Congressman Bill Shuster.

For a moment last night, it looked like those stories about his relationship with an airline lobbyist might lead to his downfall.

Shuster hung on, though, ultimately prevailing by just 1,009 votes. After a night like that, he may be the happiest one of all that primary season is over.

27 Responses

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  2. Tony Campisi-

    You won’t have Joe’s ass to kiss anymore. You’ve got bigger withdrawal problem.

    Your first step is to admit the truth about what a selfish fraud Sestak has been, and how he hurt the Delco Dems by undermining you and Cliff and the rest of the committee and candidates since he arrived.

  3. Whatever is David Diano going to talk about now that he doesn’t have Joe Sestak to kick around anymore? Withdrawal will be hard but, David, the first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem.

  4. Gone but not forgotten….

    What happened to “Mcginty’s revolving door to $$$” and other Sestak supporters here ???

    I wonder.. how many Sestak staffers were assigned to “Diano-watch” and posting here under aliases for Joe?

    To any Sestak staffers that are still visiting here:

    1) Joe underpaid you. His glowing “recommendation” letter for you for future employment isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Certainly much less than the $15/hour (instead of $7-$8/hour) you should have been paid.

    2) If he listed you as a consultant, and didn’t pay wage taxes, report him to the IRS and make him pay (or it comes out of your pocket)

    3) His bullsh*t non-disclosure agreements are not binding, particularly for any illegal activities, irregularities, worker abuse, payroll/taxes issues, etc. Try to publish a blank copy of it so everyone can see how ridiculous, controlling and paranoid Sestak is.

    4) Jake, you can finally take your bar exam (though you might want to destroy any remaining copies of Joe’s book).

    5) Come tell your stories. I’m sure you have plenty I haven’t heard yet.

    6) What were the internal polling numbers? Did Sestak know he was going to lose, and when? The outside polling numbers were all over the place, so I am VERY curious if any internal polls predicted the outcome.

    7) I hope the McGinty campaign can help rehabilitate the Sestak’s ex-staffers so they can be released back into the wild.

  5. Take a look at Katie McGinty’s big win by the numbers:

    •656,375: Total number of Pennsylvania Democrats who voted for Katie
    •43.05%: Percentage of Democratic primary voters who cast a ballot for Katie
    •59: The total number of counties Katie won
    •10.16%: Katie’s margin of victory in the primary

  6. Whatever do you mean, tommy? Dougherty and Brady are part of the “machine.” Their guy in the AG race lost.

  7. hbgnts – when was that? Was that 73% even this century? When was the last time Zappala had an opponent?

    My guess is that he will get one next time around.

  8. Sam-

    There is just no satisfying that man’s ego and need for attention/applause. His 2010 defeat tour was the start of his 2016 campaign. Does he (or we) need a 2016 defeat tour? Doesn’t he want to spend time with his wife and daughter?

    The chairman have better things to do than give Sestak a platform to whine about the party and how unfairly he was treated.

    If he wants to go around, he should offer his time promoting McGinty and the rest of the ticket. Better yet, dip into his remaining cash on hand, and spread the wealth to candidates and county committees that need it.

    I’ve got a project of my own targeting some state house seat that could use some funding for the candidates. Happy to take any left over cash and make good use of it. BTW, there are plenty of campaigns in Delco, and around the state, that could use his extra computer equipment from his defunct offices.

    Joe also has 400K or more cash left over for the general election that he needs to return. I would not be shocked if Sestak dipped into it for the primary and needs to cook the books a bit to replenish it. He lent his 2010 campaign 800K for a few weeks, so he certainly has the cash to make up any difference from his own pocket.

  9. You cant make this stuff up. Sestak not going home to Virginia right away. Turns out Sestak is calling Democratic Chairmen asking them to set up meetings for him so he can thank his supporters personally. He did the exact same thing when he lost to Toomey. I hope he doesn’t hang around for another 7 years. Some of us are really tired of the same stories he has been telling for all those years. He just has to admit to himself he is not as perfect as he thinks he is and move on and take one of those six figure lobbying jobs we have heard about for seven long years. Although I believe those jobs are long gone in the wake of his blowout Senatorial Primary Loss. Just go home Joe.

  10. One more key lesson: Go on TV early and heavy. Shapiro took a page out of Wolf’s playbook and it worked. gulagPittsburgh and Pat Unger: Zappala is not worried. He won Allegheny County with 73% of the vote.

  11. Senator-

    I say Sestak should blame VodVarka. At the end of the final debate, in his one minute closing remarks, VodVarka said that Sestak was a no good phony and voters that didn’t want VodVarka, should vote for McGinty or Fetterman.

    That must have cost Sestak 20 points. LOL 🙂

  12. Not fair to put Sestak’s loss on Fetterman. Fetterman’s voters wouldn’t have migrated to Sestak. Some would have, sure…but not all. In the west in particular, there were tons of Fetterman voters who would have been for McGinty against Sestak. Katie would have had an even bigger romp in the west without Fetterman in the race. In the east, Sestak would have benefitted…but then again, Fetterman didn’t get many votes in the east anyway.

  13. Philadelphian

    Everything I’ve said about Sestak is true.

    It’s all stuff I’ve gotten from reliable sources like public records (and from people with direct knowledge of events, including what I witnessed first hand)

    … like his OWN campaign finance reports, which show him listing full time staff as consultants and not paying their taxes and benefits (and paying them very little)

    … publicly available congressional staff salary information and his own Philly mag interview where he states he makes his staff work 70 hours a week. A little math shows he paid less than minimum wage/hour

    … real estate records (and white page listings) show his two houses (Virginia and PA) and the values of his and surrounding properies

    … copy of October 2010 building permit request from Alexandria, VA for Joe’s house

    … PA voter records showing Sestak’s wife dropped her registration after 2006.

    … July 2005 Navy Times and other contemporaneous sources stated quite clearly that Sestak was sacked by Admiral Mullen for “poor command climate” (aka abusing his staff)

    Sestak’s high turnover of staff is no coincidence
    .. Sestak has mistreated his congressional and campaign staff in the exact same manner (though they weren’t trapped on a ship in the middle of the ocean without escape)

    One of Sestak’s staffers told me that Joe plagiarized whole passages of his book from the term papers of his students and that Joe’s co-author (ghost-writer) Jake has delayed taking his bar exam because he’d risk getting disbarred participating in some of Sestak’s legally questionable activities. (So, good luck to Jake in passing the bar and doing ethical work).

    .. I spoke directly with a female former Sestak staffer who was told by Bill Walsh (Joe’s district office manager) to: “Shut the f*ck up. You were hired for your looks, not your opinions. Your job is to look good for Joe.” That’s a direct quote. Ask around, other people know this story. Bill ran the office exactly the way Joe wanted it run. I highly doubt Bill took a shit without sending Joe a photo and asking instructions for how many sheets would be required.

  14. Diano: The election is over; the endless wild accusations and rumor mongering about Sestak were tiring before, but now it’s just spamming this website. Will you please move on?

  15. John Trout-

    How about the $4.5 million that Sestak raised to defend/keep the 7th Congressional district that he misspent/embezzled into his Senate campaign? How about the $10 million cash-on-hand Specter had to defeat Toomey that Sestak prevented from being spent for that purpose.

    If the DSCC gave half of that money to Fetterman, he would have cleaned Sestak’s clock. If Fetterman had started his campaign when Sestak started his ridiculous 422 mile walk, McGinty wouldn’t have needed to jump in and Fetterman would have crossed the finish line ahead of Sestak.

    Sestak was a piss-poor candidate who couldn’t win a statewide general election to save his life, and those millions not only raised McGinty’s profile (which will continue to pay dividend) but it was a cheap price to pay to get rid of Sestak, who would have sabotaged the entire ticket (again).

    Good riddance.

    I don’t know if McGinty can beat Toomey, but we’ve already proven that Sestak can’t. I hope McGinty wins to put the final nail in the STFU coffin for Sestak’s foolish supporters.

    BTW, who here thinks Sestak will even vote in PA in November or will have sold his house and be voting in VA?

  16. Not included in this story: the $ 2 Million siphoned from the DSCC to fund Katies’s campaign is gone. Money that was donated to defeat Toomey is gone. MISSED OPPORTUNITY – One seat that won’t be turned. There are already very negative ads being run against her, and no money to respond. DSCC money is mwnt for general elections.

  17. Pat Unger: Maybe now someone will challenge Steve Zappala Jr for the DA job in Allegheny County. All that talk of his aunt marrying the mob and his brother’s Cash for Kids jails cannot be making him very popular.

  18. Bernie-

    Well, it was never “cool” when Sestak used his misbehavior to win in the past. It always hurt the party and down-ticket races. He just got away with it because he used the limited definition of only his own personal success. It’s like getting credit for having the cleanest yard in the neighbor, after you dumped your trash on your neighbors property and stole his gardening equipment.

  19. As the Inquirer’s Maddie Hanna noted, Sestak left the stage after his concession speech to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”. A fitting departure for the iconoclast.

    “Hit the Road Jack” would have been my pick.

  20. Notice how none of the candidates sought Seth Williams’ endorsement? That is very telling.

  21. I can tell you who is NOT a power-broker in the City of Brotherly Love:

    The brother who hangs out at the Union League and hires racists to work for him.

    In fact – Seth Williams seems to have completed his transformation into a Corbett Republican. Aside from hiring and protecting racists, he has also hired and protected women he has slept with. He covered-up for a criminal who vandalized City property and forced the taxpayers to pay for the damage. Seth also demoted a hard-working felame Deputy for recommending charges against Johnny Doc.

    And then, there’s this. Proof positive that Williams is now friendless on Philadelphia and a full-on Corbett Republican:

    LOL. A bartender is running his PAC!!

  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
    • More Likely (34%)
    • Makes No Difference (30%)

    Total Voters: 112

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