Despite the fact that Gov. Ed Rendell has been in the media bellowing and warning Rep. Joe Sestak not to challenge Sen. Arlen Specter in next year’s Pennsylvania U.S. Senate primary, a new poll released today by Susquehanna Polling & Research finds that 63% say that Specter should face a primary challenger.
Despite Gov. Rendell’s warnings that Specter will crush him the primaries, yesterday on MSNBC’s Hardball, Rep. Joe Sestak virtually all but formally announced that he was challenge Specter next year.
Here is the video:
Sestak’s decision to run would be very popular with primary voters who believe by a 63%-28% margin that Specter should face a primary challenger. Most PA Democrats are well aware that Rendell is trying to make the primary as easy as possible for his pal Arlen Specter. The problem is that rank and file Democrats, not Rendell and Joe Biden should be allowed to choose the Senate nominee.
Sestak isn’t the ideal choice to challenge Specter. He and Specter agree on more issues than they disagree, including The Employee Free Choice Act, but Sestak makes a powerful argument when he claims that the state’s Democratic voters deserve a choice in the primary. The party leadership has been telling Sestak to wait his turn, but he is actually doing the Democratic Party a favor by running against Specter.
Specter came into the Democratic Party assuming that he could do whatever he wanted and would not be held accountable until the general election, but a Sestak candidacy will keep Arlen in check within the Democratic Party. Most importantly, a contested primary gives Democrats a chance to decide if they want Arlen Specter to represent them. All in all, Joe Sestak’s candidacy is a good thing for the state of Pennsylvania.