Politico is reporting that state Democratic Party officials are beginning to sound the alarm: Joe Sestak might just beat Arlen Specter in the May 18 primary after all.
As polls show Sestak, a second-term House member, cutting Specter’s advantage to single digits, Chairman T.J. Rooney told POLITICO in an interview that "if we want to keep this seat in Democratic hands, the only person capable of delivering that victory is Arlen Specter."
"I can’t say [if Sestak wins] that we’ll have the same race in November,” Rooney said. "The results could be cataclysmic."
The folks at Muhlenberg College have begun day-to-day polling of this and other races. So far, there's no statistically significant change since the polling began May 2. And I'm still an agnostic on whether this is anything other than some inevitable pre-election tightening upof the numbers.
But with the May 18 race up in the air, Rooney sounds like he's all but conceding the election in November.
Rooney called Toomey a "formidable opponent," and predicted that Republicans "will paint Joe Sestak as a far-flung lefty and Pat Toomey will gravitate toward the middle and we will lose our hand."
Gotta say: This is exactly the kind of cringing attitude that drives progressives crazy about Democratic Party leadership. Oooh, the Republicans will say nasty things about us. Better elect Arlen Specter. Better not have a public healthcare option. Better vote for war with Iraq.
News flash for Rooney: The GOP always portrays Democrats as "far-flung lefties," whether they are or not. That's what Republicans do. And it's also a given that Toomey will gravitate toward the middle. Duh.
And I'll go back to a post I put together in January: Some Republicans themselves have said that Sestak may be harder for Toomey to beat.
But I'm guessing Republicans were expecting Democratic leadership to, you know, actually get behind the party's nominee. Instead, Rooney appears ready to furnish the GOP with talking points to use against his own candidate. So who knows?
And hey guys: This is why we have primaries. I'm sure things would be a lot easier if the party elders could just make these choices on their own. No doubt running a party would be a lot more fun if it weren't for all the fucking voters threatening to mess up your plans. But if you can't get enough Democrats excited about Specter now, what makes you think they're going to be any more enthusiastic in November?