Laura Vecsey's Blog
Laura Vecsey's Blog
Dem leader says Sestak should pull a Gerlach
A funny thing happened on the way to interpreting results of the new Rasmussen poll that has Democratic Senator Arlen Specter trailing Republican Pat Toomey, 49-40 percent: Pennsylvania Democratic Party chairman T.J. Rooney made case for Congressman Joe Sestak (D-7) to drop out of the Democratic primary against Specter.
Rooney talked what a “good Democrat” is and said it would be “travesty to lose [Sestak] in Congress. This doesn’t seem to be the right time to do this. A lot of folks are wishing, hoping he would take a look at this.
“Arlen Specter is a good Democrat,” Rooney said. “Joe Sestak is a good Democrat—a great Democratic member of Congress. There’s a lot to respect about Joe’s beliefs, but it’s shame to have to spend precious resources we could be using in other directions. It would have been unfair six months ago to say this. That was the time to go out and test the water. But we are coming up against it. Will he defeat Arlen Specter in a primary? There’s no substantial movement in that direction.”
The willingness on the part of Rooney to suggest Sestak give up his aspiration for higher-office to instead defend his seat, a la Republican Jim Gerlach in the 6th Congressional District, was a sure sign that the post-Massachusetts Democrats are scrambling to reassess strategies. This will be necessary to hold state House, state Senate and Congressional seats in the wake of Republican Scott Brown’s jolting win over Ted Kennedy’s alleged Democratic heir, Martha Coakley.
In looking at voters in Sestak’s suburban Philadelphia seat, where Sestak actually got more votes than Barack Obama in 2008, Rooney has reason for concern. Republican Pat Meehan has the party power behind him after giving up his gubernatorial aspirations.
But Sestak’s campaign said the Democratic Party’s embrace of Specter goes against Democratic principles.
“I think people are looking for someone who will put principle over politics,” campaign spokesman Gary Ritterstein said.
January 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm