Pennsylvania’s current race for Republican incumbent Pat Toomey’s U.S. Senate seat could be the deciding factor in which party controls the Senate
. “It is inconceivable to think Democrats could win control of Senate without winning this seat,” G. Terry Madonna, a professor and director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, told City Paper
And Pa.’s other Senator, Democrat Bob Casey, has officially decided who he would like to work with for the next couple years. Last week, Casey endorsed former Pa. environmental secretary Katie McGinty.
“Katie McGinty will fight tirelessly for Pennsylvania families, and I’m proud to endorse her in the race for U.S. Senate,” said Casey in a press release. “Katie will lead the fight to raise incomes for middle class families, ensure women get equal pay for equal work, raise the minimum wage and make it possible for more families to afford child care.”
McGinty has been the choice of Democratic party leadership for the U.S. Senate seat since she entered the race. Before Casey’s endorsement, she was endorsed by Gov. Tom Wolf, U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle of Allegheny County, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.
“I am honored to have the support and endorsement of Senator Casey – someone who I admire and would be privileged to work alongside,” said McGinty in a press release. “I would be a partner with [Casey] in the Senate and fight for good-paying jobs, investments in clean energy and work to ensure that every child, no matter their zip code, has access to quality and affordable education. I’m eager to get to work for the hard working people of this commonwealth.”
And while the support of the person who will become your immediate colleague is a big boost for the McGinty campaign, competitor and former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak downplayed the endorsement in a recent press release.
Sestak claims to have had no politicians’ endorsement in the race thus far. (This is partially true, as U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright from Lackawanna County, Pa. held a fundraiser for Sestak last August but did not officially endorse the former congressman.)
Sestak writes that he is unsure why most Democratic party officials have rejected endorsing him, given his support of big Democratic policies, like the Affordable Care Actand the Economic Stimulus bill, while serving in the congress. He speculates that his time in the military (Sestak is a former Navy Admiral) and shorter time in politics may have led to the rejections.
“There aren’t many veterans in Congress, and none who served 31 years and was a ...
general officer — except me,” wrote Sestak. “Perhaps that’s why [I have not received endorsements] … I never grew up in politics.”
According to PBS
, the U.S. House and Senate contain around 20 percent members who are veterans. This is down from about 75 percent in 1970 (however, veterans also now make up half of the percentage of total U.S. population as they did in 1970).
“Perhaps too many of our politicians in both parties have acquiesced and maybe that is why the general public — from the old Tea Party to today’s progressive Democrats — have felt attracted to those who seem to break the system,” wrote Sestak. “They just want a public servant.”
And Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, the other main Democratic U.S. Senate candidate who is also looking to break the system (Fetterman has endorsed U.S. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders), also downplayed the endorsement.
His campaign spokesperson Leslie Wertheimer sent this response to CP
: "The last seven months of [McGinty's] campaign have shown establishment endorsements don't equate to campaign momentum or support from actual voters."
The most recent Harper poll
shows potential head-to-head match-ups of Democratic candidates against incumbent Toomey. Sestak fares the best, but is still trailing 47-41, while McGinty trails 47-39 and Fetterman trails 46-36. McGinty has gained five percentage points since September, while Sestak gained four. (Fetterman entered the race after the September Harper poll.)