Specter left the Republican Party in April, giving Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid calls on Democrats to plow forward on immigration Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt MORE (D-Nev.) control of 60 Senate seats.
Reid and President Obama promised to help Specter in Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary, but their support was not enough to overcome a challenge from Sestak, who portrayed Specter’s party switch as the desperate move of a longtime incumbent to save his career.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent heavily in Pennsylvania but Toomey retained his lead in the vast majority of public polls.
Toomey served in the House from 1999 until 2005. He served as president of the Club for Growth, a conservative group that advocates for lower taxes and smaller government, after leaving Congress.
Toomey received more than $300,000 in financial support from Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) leadership PAC, the Senate Conservatives Fund.
Specter lamented the rise of ideologically stringent conservatives within the Republican Party during one of his final speeches on the Senate floor. He warned the ascendancy of ideologically driven-candidates would paralyze policymaking.
“The Congress is gridlocked, leaving the Nation's business floundering,” Specter said on Sept. 28. “Fringe candidates with highly questionable competency are winning primary elections. Moderates and some conservatives are falling because they fail the test of ideological purity.”