The Sestak Watch
A very interesting development on the political front as Delaware County tries to suppress a collective yawn as we lurch toward another primary election day.
There’s been a very subtle – but very telling – shift in the tone of Congressman Joe Sestak, D-7.
It has long been believed that the ambitious Sestak might one day cast his eye on the Senate seat held by Republican Sen. Arlen Specter.
Every time we would ask Sestak about such a possibility, he made it very clear. He loved his job in the House of Representatives and had no intention of making a bid for the Senate.
Then a couple of things happened. Specter, who makes a habit of rubbing Republicans the wrong way with some of his votes, backed President Obama and his massive stimulus package. It was Specter’s swing vote that was seen as crucial in getting the measure through the Senate.
Republicans, especially the conservative wing, were not pleased. It was not the first time they believed they had been betrayed by the moderate Specter.
Now Specter is facing a challenge in the Republican Primary. Actually two of them.
Both abortion foe Peg Luksik and conservative former Congressman Pat Toomey have Specter in the crosshairs. It’s the Toomey match that intrigues the pundits.
A few years back, Toomey came close to toppling Specter, who has served Pennsylvania in the Senate for as long as anyone can remember.
Republicans seemingly have been plotting a way to dump him just as long.
The thinking is that Sestak would not challenge an entrenched Specter, whose record would not be all that different than the Democrat’s. But Toomey is another matter. There are those who believe that while Toomey could depose Specter in a Republican primary, he still would have trouble in a statewide race.
Enter the Democrat Sestak.
First, of course, Sestak would have to say he’s in. So far, he is not talking about the future. Which is interesting in itself, not so much for what he is saying as for what he’s not saying. He’s not taking the strident tone he once did, ruling out a run.
Keep an eye on this one. At some point Sestak will have to decide whether he wants to get in the race. It’s a gamble. He would be giving up a Congressional seat. They don’t exactly fall off trees.
But his war chest – which now stands at a little more than $3 million – says he would make a formidable candidate should he decide to challenge the Republican in a Senate race.
That might really be the deciding question, just who that Republican will be.