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Westmoreland Dems endorse Specter, Wagner, Conklin

The Westmoreland County Democratic Committee handed out its endorsements Saturday, backing Senator Arlen Specter for reelection and Auditor General Jack Wagner for governor.

The party also handed state Representative Scott Conklin (D-Centre) his first big endorsement win in nascent bid for Lieutenant Governor. Conklin only got into the race shortly before filing nominating petitions to get on the ballot; former Philadelphia City Controller Jonathan Saidel has been easily cruising to most county party endorsements.

Former John Murtha aide Mark Critz easily won the endorsement for Congress in the 12th District, after Cambria County Controller Ed Cernic Jr. dropped out of the race and threw his support to Critz.

And despite being unopposed in the May primary, Congressman Jason Altmire (D-4) didn’t win enough votes for the endorsement, in what seemed like a protest over his recent decision to vote against the health care reform bill expected to come up for a vote Sunday.

March 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm Staff

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comments [15] | post a comment

  1. David Diano

    Mar 21st, 2010

    The Westmoreland vote was another blow to the Sestak campaign.

    The vote was 67-44 (about 60%-40%). This performance gap is pretty typical for Sestak and will likely be seen in the general election.

    Sestak CAN’T make the “name recognition” argument with these people.

    As a matter of fact, my source in the Westmoreland Dem committee told me that some Vets there have taken notice of how Sestak showed up before in a suit and is now showing up in the military jacket. They are not happy with Sestak trading in on his service in that manner, like a prop.

    Joe made the excuse that it was a nice warm jacket against the winter cold, but, hey Joe, the weather is warm now! You were wearing that jacket a few weeks ago at the Montco Dems nominating convention, where it so hot I had to take off my light sports jacket. You must have roasting like a pig on a spit.
    Besides, when you opened your Philly office (when it was cold) you were photographed by local paper getting out of the car with jacket in hand 10 steps from the entrance. Try to be more consistent with your props.


    Mar 21st, 2010

    Just over a third of the committee people showed up in westmoreland to vote and the margin for all three races was decisive. Thankfully, for sestak, it was only 60-40% If it were almost a full committee vote, of over three hundred… (he got smashed)… point being it likely would have been way worse.

    This is a serious problem for Sestak who has tried to put alot of effort in… in Westmoreland. Specter winning the landslide endorsement is just the most recent example of the map getting smaller on Sestak.


    Mar 21st, 2010


    Not sure what to take from this for onorato.

  4. Brett

    Mar 21st, 2010

    Yeh Baby, It’s Spector and Wagner all the way!
    and Saidel has real competition now with Conklin, Sestak is toast!

  5. HateSestak

    Mar 21st, 2010

    Yet another colossal defeat for Representative Sestak – the “grassroots support” he purports to enjoy once again has failed to materialize. Sestak for Senate is a fiasco that continues to unravel even as we speak.


    Mar 21st, 2010

    Sestak should have felt at home in Westmoreland. After all his good friend Richard Mellon Scaife, notorious right winger controls the press their, the right wing snot rag, the Greensburg Tribune Review and all local papers. Scaife gave sestak the max amount allowed.

  7. Bruce Bailey

    Mar 21st, 2010

    Keep your eyes on this top-down process, David et al. The message to Deomcratic voters this May: Don’t let party bosses control your vote.

    I will say it every chance I get: this is a once-in-a-generation, party-defining primary. And the choice is simple: Do we elect a frail, sickly, aging 30-year Republican Senator because we are being ordered to support him, or do we vote for a real Democrat whose voting record far surpasses the endorsed candidate?

    Most Democrats I know are voting for the Democrat in this primary. And obviously, that’s Joe Sestak.

  8. HateSestak

    Mar 21st, 2010

    Bailey: Your supply of rationalizations is almost exhausted, is it not?


    Mar 21st, 2010

    The only thing that looked frail… is sestak’s support at the Westmoreland convention Bruce…


    Mar 21st, 2010


    You forgot to add that Altmire being unopposed and not getting the endorsement is “frail”.

    Id also say Sestaks support amongst dems might go from “frail” to “frailer” when the Westmoreland group finds out hes been taking all that $ in political donations from Mellon Scaife.

  11. David Diano

    Mar 21st, 2010

    “I will say it every chance I get: this is a once-in-a-generation, party-defining primary.”

    And you say that I exaggerate!

  12. Bruce Bailey

    Mar 21st, 2010

    No, Dave, I truly believe that to be the case. The outcome in May will define who we are as a party in this state.

    If enough Democrats buy into the TJ Rooney vision of what this party should be — i.e., a collection of voters who mindlessly listen and do what they’re told — it will not change for a long, long time.

    The party bosses have said that a person’s past makes no difference. That there is no such thing as a commitment to Democratic party ideals. That the only thing we should care about is latching onto a guy who used to be “Theirs” and is now “Ours,” like we just picked up a new starting pitcher on the free-agent market.

    But this isn’t baseball, and it’s not a game, not as far as I’m concerned. Democratic values and what you’ve done in the past count for something, and Specter fails there. Fails miserably.

    I have never claimed that Joe Sestak is an ideal candidate. But he is a Democrat and his voting record in Congress is nearly 100% in line with what the party supports. I know we will be able to count on him once he is elected and regardless of the character assassination that goes on here in these comments, he will be a Senator I can be proud of.

    And I know that the only loyalty Arlen Specter feels is to himself.

    So no, I don’t think I’m exaggerating. The primary IS that important.

  13. Baffled by BS

    Mar 21st, 2010

    I think Conklin got the Dauphin County endorsement too. The vote was something like 40 to 5 over Saidel.

  14. HateSestak

    Mar 21st, 2010

    Bailey: Representative Sestak is most assuredly not an “ideal candidate.” An ideal candidate would refrain from making unsubstantiated accusations against the incumbent Democratic President of the United States. An ideal candiate would pay his/her staff more than minimum wage. An ideal candidate would not be endorsed by Eric Massa, a sexual deviant who fondles the gentials of innocent people. An ideal candidate would not have links to nefarious labor racketeers like Wendell Young IV. An ideal candidate would not furnish earmarks to avaricious arms manufacturers like Dragonfly Pictures.

    No, Sestak is not an “ideal candidate.” Nay rather, he is an embarassment to both himself and the Democratic Party.

  15. David Diano

    Mar 21st, 2010

    I’m no fan of TJ Rooney. But, the decision was made to support Specter as the best chance to beat Toomey. Even when counties have an opportunity to endorse otherwise, Sestak still loses consistently and by large margins.
    If Sestak had been the party’s pick, or won state committee, I suspect you’d be fighting against efforts to overturn the endorsement within the counties.
    One one the reasons I won’t run for committee (and I’ve been asked repeatedly) is because I don’t want to constrainted by other votes. That’s why I can enjoy supporting challengers to incumbents and long shot candidates.
    At the end of the day, party Democrats realize Joe doesn’t have “The Right Stuff” to win in November nor put the party (and our President) ahead of his own quest for advancement (without paying his political dues). Specter is ambition, to be sure, but he understands his duties as a member of a party. Sestak doesn’t (or he wouldn’t keep p1ssing on Obama and the Dem leadership).
    Joe was awarded leadership in
    the Navy, but commands none in the Congress where he
    can’t bark orders.

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