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Dr_Dredd's avatar

Senator Arlen Specter just lost the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania, ending his political career after 45 years. Thoughts? Do you think Rep. Joe Sestak (the guy who beat Specter) has any chance of defeating Pat Toomey in November?

Asked by Dr_Dredd (10535points) May 19th, 2010

Toomey is very right-wing, belonging to a group of conservatives that think government should be “starved until it gets small enough to drown in the bathtub.”

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20 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Nothing surprises me when it comes to PA. They’re conservative enough I say the race will be close and the odds will be pick em by election time. (This from an upstate New Yorker). Your call Doc?

perspicacious's avatar

No. I haven’t read much, but it sounds like Toomey will win.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I’m scared Toomey will win. When I lived in Pittsburgh, I specifically changed my party affiliation so that I could vote against him in the Republican primaries in 2004.

BoBo1946's avatar

if jobs pick up before November and the housing market shows improvement, the Democrats will do much better than expected. If not, think we are looking at the Republicans getting a chance to screw up again.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I don’t disapprove of the right wing stated philosophy. The government shoud be small. The right wing actions are just not in line with their philosophy. They throw money at their croonies like crazy and look what Bush inherited, a surplus, and look what he left behind.

filmfann's avatar

When I went to bed, Specter was winning, so this is wonderful news to wake up to.
I don’t know who will win here, but I hope it will be Sestak. We need more reasonable voices in the Senate, and Specter was never that.

single bullet my ass

marinelife's avatar

Sestak has as his political consultant Neil Oxman’s firm, who handled Ed Rendell. They are experts at commercial messages. I think he will do very well.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

The polling I’ve seen suggests that Sestak has a better chance of beating Toomey than Specter did. Personally, I think it was a good election. I have some respect for Sen. Specter, but I’d rather see him go down to a real Democrat than fall to Toomey in November. 80 years old, 30 years of it in the Senate? He needs to buy a fishing pole and step aside.

Yesterday was a great day for the Blue Team, IMHO. All the news media are abuzz about Specter and Rand Paul, but making little commentary on the only race that actually mattered yesterday – the special election for Murtha’s old seat in PA-12. The Democrat Critz, who worked for Murtha, won by a comfortable 8 points in a district that went for McCain in 2008. If that’s any indication of how November is going to be for the Democrats, I’d say reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Cruiser's avatar

The big thing that could derail Toomey is him getting too chummy with the Tea Partiers. That is what the Dems will focus their attack upon and is about the only chance they have is to frame Toomey as in bed with the right wingnuts.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Cruiser , Club for Growth is about as right-wing as you can get. He’s already the darling of Tea Partiers everywhere, no secret there. It should be a very interesting race.

Cruiser's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex That is kind of my point in that I don’t get the impression that is where he wants to be. Sure the Tea Party will embrace him as their poster child of hope but he will need to present himself and his goals as more centrist conservative to prevent the Tea Party extremists from nose diving his campaign to the delight of the Dems.

dpworkin's avatar

After what Specter did to Anita Hill, I’m glad to see him finally suffer.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I hope Specter will tell what he knows about JFK’s murder before dies.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Cruiser , I think we’re going to see a lot of hand-wringing coming from Toomey’s campaign at this point. His entire campaign was, I’m sure, going to be about Specter’s deficiencies, and now he doesn’t have that to work with. He’ll have to fall back on “All Democrats are Big-Spending Liberals,” which isn’t going to play nearly as well. He doesn’t have a clue how to run a positive campaign – convincing voters that he’s a good guy with good ideas (because he isn’t, and he doesn’t) so mudslinging is what he’ll stick to. But will the mud stick to Sestak as well as it would to Specter?

It’s too early to say, but I think that seat might stay Blue in November.

Cruiser's avatar

I don’t know much about him or Sestak, but I would place any bets just yet as the primaries the other day clearly demonstrated that people are fed up with incumbants and the Presidents lackluster performance. Left leaning Dems are positioned to take beating come Nov. and as of today, only Conservative Democrats appear to stand a chance.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Cruiser , I concur that it’s too early to predict the outcome of the November races, but I don’t agree that left-leaning Dems have more at risk than centrists. I contend it’s the other way around, primarily because of demographics. A lot of Democratic seats were picked up in 2006 and 2008 by virtue of anti-incumbent sentiment in otherwise right-leaning, i.e., Republican districts. Liberal Democrats aren’t sitting in those seats. The liberals tend to percolate to the top in safely blue districts, and as such have less at risk; e.g., don’t expect to see Luis Gutierrez or Dennis Kucinich go down in November.

If anything, the left is resurgent in this cycle. Sestak, for example, is unarguably left of Specter, yet he’s polling better against Toomey. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas is facing a runoff against the more liberal Halter, who’s got the endorsement of liberal groups like MoveOn.

Yet this doesn’t appear to be hurting them in any way. Yesterday, Nate Silver tweeted that Intrade is rating the PA and KY – yes, KY! – senate races as tossups, when the CW had conceded PA to Toomey a couple of months ago. A Democratic win in KY would be huge, but entirely possible considering what a wingnut Rand Paul is.

Cruiser's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex I can’t argue with your appraisal here, I am basing my hunches on the beating the incumbents took in the primaries here so now that a lot of that weeding has taken place it may be back to old school 2 party politics and the team with the most voters off their ass wins. And that in itself may be why I feel that the republicans will do some damage in November as the tea party and the rep party has a lot of momentum right now and emotions are running high. Starting with the last Presidential election, I can’t remember a time when I have seen politics wound up so much.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Well, the pattern in the Democratic primaries Tuesday indicates both discontent and enthusiasm on their part as well. Did you know that Democratic turnout in the KY primary was twice that of Republicans?

Right now, most of the national polls are giving a slight edge to the Democrats in generic balloting, after they’d been trailing for months. I don’t think this is due to a slowdown in the momentum of the Tea Party, but rather a renewed sense of purpose on the part of Democrats. It will be interesting to see how this trend will play out over the next 6 months.

This is an interesting take on November. The author writes for a liberal blog, but I think his analysis is spot-on. One point that stands out, one that all the polls clearly support, is that Americans’ contempt for Congress, as bad as it is, is not as bad as their contempt for Congressional Republicans. That’s why you have Tea Party challengers like Paul defeating establishment candidates.

However, they’re competitive in only a handful of races. Although they’re picking up momentum, they’ve lost rather miserably so far in the Republican primaries. But to the extent that they’re winning, they seem to be hurting the Republicans’ prospects more than helping, further evidence of the disarray within the Republican Party. It’s going to be hard for them to win the day in November when they can’t get their own house in order.

dpworkin's avatar

Pauls Libertarianism is going to be used against him, in that no one to his left is going to allow his nuanced position on the Civil Rights Act or the ADA to retain any nuance.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@dpworkin , it might not matter in Kentucky. It will depend on how fired up the Democrats – as few of them as there are – can get in November. That state is RED. If, say, OFA can get every 18-to-29-year-old and everybody who isn’t white to vote, they might beat the guy.

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