Congressman Joe Sestak is leaving the door open for a run against the new Democratic Senator Specter in a primary.
TPM has video from Morning Joe today in which Sestak speaks of "independent" Pennsylvanians who make up their own mind and takes a real "wait and see" attitude on Specter. He basically threatens to run for Senate if Specter does not vote like a Democrat:
Yesterday, Specter voted "no" on the Obama budget.
In an interview with The Hill yesterday, Sestak kept the door wide open to a run against Specter:
"While the political establishment in Washington may support him, the determination has to be made by the fellow sitting in a diner in Upper Darby," Sestak said. "Is this the gentleman who has the right leadership to shape the Democratic Party when (he has) had a pretty tough dialogue with his base and didn’t shape that party?"
Sestak said he has no timetable and only began talking to people about the race this month. But he suggested Specter’s actions in the near term will play a big role.
"I haven’t heard those (ideas) yet, and I think maybe that’s what will come out in the next few weeks or so," Sestak said. "You don’t want to wait two years. It should be a couple weeks or something."
The official statement from Congressman Sestak on 4/28:
This shows the principle rule of politics: tomorrow is always another day -- as today was. This may be good for Arlen, politically; however, two key questions need to be answered.
First, after 31 years in the military, I learned that you run for something, not against someone. Arlen has made a decision to leave a race because he could not win against someone. What needs to be known is what he is running for.
Second, I watched then-Gov. Clinton and then-Sen. Obama take a leadership position in the Democratic Party and shape it. The leadership that would have been most impressive would be if Arlen had used his role to reshape the Republican Party that he said he had entered when it was a 'big tent,' but now is leaving because it has gotten too small. In short, I believe that the principles of what he is running for and his commitment to accountable leadership are questions that still need to be addressed.
Sestak is a moderate Democrat, which shows how right wing Specter actually is. Specter moving into the Democratic Party makes him perhaps the most conservative Democrat.
Specter promises to vote no on Employee Free Choice Act, and to support a filibuster. Joe Sestak chose to run as a Democrat in a Republican-leaning district in 2006. Sestak is more of a "New Democrat," but he is a Democrat.
Is Arlen Specter a Democrat in anything other than designation of the primary in which he will run? Let's look at his votes. Sestak is. Mr. Sestak and we should react accordingly. If Specter screws working people, we will return the favor.
Update I: People have asked where to send money to Sestak. Here: Joe Sestak for Congress
This is for his House race, but if he runs for Senate, he can use the money.
Update II: Adam B points out that there already is a Democratic candidate running: Joe Torsella.
Update III: From Brooklynbadboy in the comments, SEIU sends a messafge to Senator Specter:
"We applaud the Senator on showing the political courage we know it took to change parties--and to move to a place we believe is more closely aligned with his personal convictions. But SEIU has always been an organization that supports candidates and elected officials based on their commitment to working families, not their party labels.
The issues that face working people in Pennsylvania have not changed, and the support we need from our representatives in Congress hasn't changed, either.
We know there have been contradictory and confusing reports about what Senator Specter's decision means for the priorities of working families in our state. In a word: our fight for Employee Free Choice and quality, affordable healthcare continues, as strong as ever."
Update IV: The Real Specter?
Only two weeks ago, when he was still running for reelection as a Republican, Specter said that keeping him in the Senate was the only hope of blocking the Dem agenda, adding that if he lost a GOP primary, his seat would go to a Democrat, giving Dems "anything they want."
Specter made the comments on Morning Joe on April 7th.
"Look here, our country is built on checks and balances," Specter said, according to Nexis. "The only check and balance in America today are the 41 Republican Senators who can talk and filibuster. Otherwise, the White House, the House of Representatives [will] be a streamroller."