By The Hill Editors - 05/11/10 11:08 AM EDT
Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.)
has pulled ahead of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) in two recent polls after
trailing him by 20 points two months ago.
The Senate primary
is next Tuesday, and this race could be decided by campaign tactics or a
gaffe made between now and then.
President Barack Obama and
Vice President Joe Biden did not want Sestak to run, but he defied them.
Sestak claimed the White House offered him a job if he dropped out of
the race, a charge the White House has disputed.
It is worth
noting that Specter, seeking his sixth term in the upper chamber, has
won a lot of close races, most recently against former Rep. Pat Toomey
(R-Pa.) in the 2004 GOP primary.
Sestak has run a very
effective campaign, raising nearly $6 million and challenging Specter on
a variety of issues.
During a recent debate, Sestak noted
that Specter voted for the Iraq war and has been a “career politician.”
countered that Sestak’s retirement from the House could cost Democrats a
seat in the lower chamber this fall, adding that Sestak was a
registered independent before 2006.
Sestak’s candidacy is
helped by the anti-incumbent mood sweeping the country, evidenced by
Sen. Bob Bennett’s (R) defeat in Utah over the weekend.
much will the White House help Specter in the coming days? Obama’s
selection of Elena Kagan did not help Specter, who voted against her
nomination as solicitor general when he was a Republican.
Still, Sestak’s gun-control stance could
hurt him against Toomey in the general.
First things first.
Sestak has to show he can finish off the wily Specter, who probably has a
few tricks up his sleeve.