Friday, April 24, 2015

Sestak's walk turning into uphill struggle

After announcing he would seek the Democratic nomination for a rematch against U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, Joe Sestak went for a walk. Actually the Democrat hiked 422 miles across the state.

I'm beginning to wonder if it was uphill all the way.

The admiral and former congressman who defied his own party, beat Sen. Arlen Specter in a rough primary and then lost a close race to Toomey in 2010, has been on a bit of a bumpy road since his announcement.

Sestak made the trek across Pa. because he said he wanted to "walk in the shoes" of voters. He said he wanted to earn the voters' trust.

He's still working on his party leaders.

Reports indicate they would like just about anybody to run against Sestak in the primary. The former congressman did not make a lot of allies when he rebuffed requests to step aside and let Specter run as a Democrat vs. Toomey. And he has rubbed a lot of Democratic leaders the wrong way with his "go-it-alone" lone wolf attitude.

That's likely why party leaders have approached Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro and urged him to run against Sestak. Last week Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski jumped into the race.

Sestak's campaign took another hit this week when the first round of campaign finance figures came out. The admiral raised only $312,000 in the first three months of 2015. He has $1.7 million on hand as of the end of March. That is dwarfed by the numbers put up by the incumbent. Toomey raised just over $2 million in the first quarter and had $7.2 million in his war chest.

This is going to be one of the most competitive, high-profile Senate races in the nation in 2016. Sestak will need to raise a lot more money.

The next time he goes for a walk, he better have his hat in his hand.

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