Sestak hints at 2016 Senate run against Toomey

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Joe Sestak -- former congressman, U.S. admiral and 2010 Democratic foe of Sen. Pat Toomey -- announced today that he is eyeing another Senate run in 2016, signaling he will not seek the governor's mansion next year.

The Delaware County man, 61, issued a video statement this morning saying he is exploring a run because "the U.S. Senate's lack of leadership and lack of accountability in not confronting our challenges has meant our country careens from crisis to crisis, paralyzing the governing of our nation."

Since his last run Mr. Sestak has been a frequent guest on national news outlets and taught classes at Carnegie Mellon University and Cheyney University, outside Philadelphia.

He amassed a $460,000 warchest in the first quarter of 2013, heightening mystery about his next political steps. The Pennsylvania GOP went so far as to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Friday seeking to force him into declaring his intentions.

His move this morning also helps clear the large and developing field of Democrats seeking to face poll-battered Republican Gov. Tom Corbett next year.

Mr. Sestak lost to Mr. Toomey, a Republican, by 2 percentage points in November 2010.

That the race -- Mr. Sestak's first statewide -- could be so close even in a GOP wave election year has led to speculation that Mr. Toomey could have soft support in 2016.

But a Quinnipiac University poll released April 26 showed his highest approval numbers ever among voters, partially due to the Mr. Toomey's support of failed legislation to expand gun-buyer background checks.

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Tim McNulty: tmcnulty@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1581. Follow Early Returns at earlyreturns.post-gazette.com or on Twitter: @EarlyReturns.


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