Sestak rules out run for governor in 2014, eyes rematch with Toomey
HARRISBURG — Former Rep. Joe Sestak has ruled out a campaign for Pennsylvania governor, but he said on Tuesday he is seriously exploring another run for the Senate, possibly setting up a rematch against Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in 2016.
Sestak said he believes his leadership skills would be more useful in a Senate that he characterized as devoid of leadership.
“They just seem to avoid confronting any issue until there's a crisis, and so our nation's careening from crisis to crisis,” he told The Associated Press.
Sestak, a 61-year-old retired Navy officer who reached the rank of vice admiral, was a second-term congressman when he bucked national party leaders and ousted Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic primary. He lost the general election to Toomey by 2 percentage points.
Sestak's decision removed a huge question mark from the crowded field of declared and likely Democratic candidates seeking to take on Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in his expected re-election bid next year. They include two former state environmental protection secretaries, John Hanger and Kathleen McGinty; U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz; former state revenue Secretary Tom Wolf; and state Treasurer Rob McCord.
Several of the Democratic hopefuls offered opinions about the effect on their prospects in the 2014 primary.
In breaking his months-long silence on his political plans, Sestak directed his criticism at the Senate as an institution rather than at Toomey.
“I have spent a lot of time listening to and talking with the people of Pennsylvania ... in their homes, at diners, coffee shops, in (organized) labor and small business gatherings, and VFW halls,” he said. “The government of the people has rarely been held in such low regard by the people, undermining our sense of unity — what we stand for and what we are capable of.”
A Toomey spokesman said the senator is focused on his duties, not an election more than three years away. The former investment banker served three terms in the House of Representatives and headed the free-market advocacy group Club for Growth in Washington for several years before he was elected to the Senate.
“He will continue working to build consensus and lead in Washington like he has on job creation, fiscal responsibility and keeping America safe,” said Mark Harris, who managed Toomey's 2010 campaign.
State Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn asserted that Sestak's decision reflects Toomey's vulnerability.
“We've already found a top-tier candidate, as good a candidate as you're going to find, which in and of itself is a reaffirmation of how vulnerable and disconnected Sen. Toomey is from the state he was elected to serve,” Burn said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Crawford County man gets prison — and lecture — for tattooing 12-year-old
- DEP awaiting tests for ‘cat urine’ smell in New Castle
- Feds accused of bullying state over police test
- Kane’s office backtracks on prosecution in email scandal
- Pennsylvania legislative leader Costa blasts suggestion of session before Wolf sworn in as governor
- Ohio woman shot to death nearly 3 days before police find body in Neshannock home
- Conneaut Lake Park to take case to court for tax-exempt status
- Geologist: Site of idyllic 1833 painting of Lancaster found
- Pennsylvania human services agency gets new name