Final round in Specter vs. Sestak coming up
The final bell is about to ring in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary for the Senate — and it’s a nail-biter. Who will win the chance to run against the Republican in November?
In one corner is Senator Arlen Specter who has 30 years in the Senate, but for the first time faces voters as a Democrat after switching parties last year.
In the other corner is Representative Joe Sestak who won his first election to Congress four years ago by unseating 20-year Republican incumbent Curt Weldon.
Whoever wins, the political pundits will point to it as a barometer of voter angst about incumbents in 2010.
Right now the public opinion polls are showing a dead heat.
Specter has received the endorsement of big newspapers in Pennsylvania — The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Patriot-News. The liberal-leaning MoveOn.org just announced that its membership endorsed Sestak.
One person who is staying away from the Democrat vs. Democrat Pennsylvania Senate primary as it comes down to the wire is the First Democrat himself, President Barack Obama.
While Obama attended fundraisers for Specter in September, that was the last time he was at a political event for the senator. (That of course hasn’t stopped Specter from using footage from Obama’s September appearance in a recent political ad).
The outcome may just end up resting on whether Democrats see Specter as a Democrat.
“Seventy percent of Pennsylvania Democrats have been voting against Arlen Specter for 30 years. Some habits are hard to break,” Peter Brown, Quinnipiac pollster, says.
Photo credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton (sign at polling station for Pennsylvania primaries in 2008)